EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Planck space observatory, with the Earth in the background, artwork. This unmanned spacecraft was launched from Earth on 14 May 2009. It then began travelling to the second Lagrangian point (L2), situated about 1.5 million kilometres from Earth in the direction opposite to the Sun (lower left). The aim of the mission is to study the Cosmic Microwave Background, the radiation left over from the Big Bang. Planck will take around 6 months to arrive at its destination, and will then spend 15 months surveying the sky.
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