Planck and Herschel launch rocket

Planck and Herschel launch rocket

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Credit: EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY/S. CORVAJA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Planck and Herschel launch rocket. These two missions were launched into space on 14 May 2009 by an Ariane 5 rocket (on a wheeled platform in the final assembly building). The spacecraft are inside the rocket's upper stage (top). Ariane 5 is an expendable launch system. The two solid-rocket boosters (SRBs) are either side of the main rocket stage. Herschel is collecting infrared radiation from some of the coolest and most distant objects in the Universe. Planck is studying the Cosmic Microwave Background, the radiation left over from the Big Bang. Photographed on 13 May 2009, at the Guiana Space Centre, French Guiana.

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