And, 'Each object will be observed an average of 70 times during a five-year period, precisely charting their positions, distances, movements and changes in brightness. Gaia is expected to discover hundreds of thousands of new objects, such as extra-solar planets and failed stars known as brown dwarfs.'
Further, 'Within our own solar system, Gaia will be able to identify hundreds of thousands of asteroids.'
The ESA Gaia mission is an unmanned space project whose goal is to chart a three-dimensional map of our Milky Way galaxy. Specifically, it will reveal the composition, formation and evolution of the Milky Way.
The ESA state, 'Gaia will provide unprecedented positional and radial velocity measurements with the accuracies needed to produce a stereoscopic and kinematic census of about one billion stars in our Galaxy and throughout the Local Group. This amounts to about 1 per cent of the Galactic stellar population.' [ESA]
InterSystems Corporation, founded in 1978, is a global software technology company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
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It will be used to collect, process, and analyze the high volume of research data taken in by the Gaia satellite.
InterSystems states the advantages of its CachÃ© system over other systems: 'To overcome the performance limitations of traditional relational databases, applications - ranging from those running on a single machine to large, interconnected grids - often use in-memory databases to accelerate data access.'
And, 'While in-memory databases and caching products increase throughput, they suffer from a number of limitations including lack of support for large data sets, excessive hardware requirements, and limits on scalability.'
William O'Mullane, who is the scientific operations manager of the Gaia mission for ESA, stated, "With CachÃ©, we obtain considerably superior performance and scalability than is possible with other databases.'
And, 'We are able to store tens of thousands of Java objects per second directly into CachÃ© and to maintain the capability to execute SQL queries on the data." [InterSystems]
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The Gaia mission is expected to launch in the summer of 2012, and to last approximately five years (until 2017). It will be launched by a Russian Soyuz-Fregat launch vehicle.
At the time of its launching the Gaia satellite will have a mass of approximately 2,030 kilograms, with a weight on the surface of the Earth of 19,910 newtons (4,475 pounds).
As the successor to the ESA Hipparcos mission, it will operate in a Lissajous orbit around the Sun-Earth L2 Lagrangian point.
For additional information on the Gaia mission, please read the ESA News article 'Mapping the Galaxy, and watching our backyard.'