PREVIOUSLY In the spotlight
Dr Xavier Dupac recently joined the Euclid SOC at ESAC as Survey Scientist. Xavier comes from the Planck mission which studied the Cosmic Microwave Background. He worked as Survey-Planning Scientist and Archive Scientist for Planck. His science background is in cosmology and interstellar dust studies.
Why did you switch to Euclid ?
The Planck post-operations phase is coming to an end in December 2016, and the natural thing to do was to join the Euclid SOC, since Euclid is the next cosmology and survey-oriented mission of ESA. I will then be able to apply my experience to Euclid in the fields of survey planning, design of the survey-planning tools, monitoring of the observations, etc. I will still be working half-time on Planck post-operations until the end of the year 2016.
What do you see as the biggest challenge ?
As a newcomer, my first impression is that the biggest challenge in Euclid will be the management of the whole project and especially the Science Ground Segment. The size of the Euclid consortium is such that the challenges and issues encountered in e.g. Planck will be greatly amplified. Tackling them will require great skills from the managers and scientists involved.
What about your expectations ?
One can only have great expectations from the Euclid mission. The scientific objectives are really exciting (and really feasible too !) Euclid will be able to measure the shapes of a billion galaxies (about 0.5% - 1% of the Observable Universe !), which will allow a huge leap in the mapping and understanding of the Observable Universe and its contents (Baryonic Matter, Dark Matter, Dark Energy). It is especially exciting to me to study the "local" Universe at z~1-2 (coming from the CMB at z~1100) : we are greatly improving our knowledge by studying these different eras in cosmic history.