14 June 2006 DUNE: the Dark Universe Explorer
Author Affiliations +
Understanding the nature of Dark Matter and Dark Energy is one of the most pressing issues in cosmology and fundamental physics. The purpose of the DUNE (Dark UNiverse Explorer) mission is to study these two cosmological components with high precision, using a space-based weak lensing survey as its primary science driver. Weak lensing provides a measure of the distribution of dark matter in the universe and of the impact of dark energy on the growth of structures. DUNE will also include a complementary supernovae survey to measure the expansion history of the universe, thus giving independent additional constraints on dark energy. The baseline concept consists of a 1.2m telescope with a 0.5 square degree optical CCD camera. It is designed to be fast with reduced risks and costs, and to take advantage of the synergy between ground-based and space observations. Stringent requirements for weak lensing systematics were shown to be achievable with the baseline concept. This will allow DUNE to place strong constraints on cosmological parameters, including the equation of state parameter of the dark energy and its evolution from redshift 0 to 1. DUNE is the subject of an ongoing study led by the French Space Agency (CNES), and is being proposed for ESA's Cosmic Vision programme.
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