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The Planck satellite is a satellite from the European Space Agency (ESA). Planck will look for 'Cosmic Microwave Background', which is caused by the shockwave of the Big Bang at the birth of the cosmos.
Planck's primary purpose is to use its telescope to focus radiation from the sky onto two arrays of highly sensitive detectors. The Low Frequency Instrument (LFI) and High Frequency Instrument (HFI) will measure the temperature of the cosmic microwave background radiation over the whole sky, searching for regions slightly warmer or colder than the average.
Planck will help to estimate how old the Universe is by finding how quickly the Universe is expanding. By retracing the expansion backwards to the time when all matter was squashed together, we can work out how much time the expansion took. Planck may also tell whether the Universe will continue its expansion forever or collapse in a 'Big Crunch'.
The satellite was named after the German scientist Max Planck (1858-1947) who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1918.
The satellite will be launched in mid 2008.
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