In a fresh move after Germany suspended all science collaboration with Russia in protest against Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, a space-based telescope that was creating the biggest ever map of black holes in the cosmos was shut down. The name of the telescope is eROSITA.
Earlier this week, a spokesperson for Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, the organisation that built and operates eROSITA, told Space.com that the telescope was “placed into safe mode during ground contact on Saturday, February 26.”
The move to switch off the black hole telescope on a Russian satellite came after Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research announced on Friday that all existing, long-standing cooperation in science and research with Russia would be immediately halted.
What is eROSITA?
eROSITA is an X-ray satellite developed by Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics. It is the first space-based X-ray telescope capable of viewing the whole cosmos. It was launched in 2019 in cooperation with Russia.
The telescope is positioned in Lagrange point 2, one of five stable places in the sun-Earth system where the gravitational pulls of the two bodies are in equilibrium. eROSITA has a clear perspective of the universe from this point, which it captures with its strong X-ray detection sensors. It was the primary instrument on the Russian-German Spectrum-Roentgen-Gamma satellite which was launched in 2019 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The mission was co-funded by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency.
The Spectrum-Roentgen-Gamma mission, often known as Spektr-RG, is a collaboration between Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, and DLR, the German space agency.
It is worth mentioning that the DLR said on Thursday that it would end all partnership efforts with Russian institutes and would not begin any new projects or initiatives with them.
DLR employs people from 96 countries. They stand for the peaceful coexistence of all nations and peoples. Therefore, we are ending our bilateral cooperation with #Russia. Read our full statement: https://t.co/OrzDd4SC1y #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/2yZSOE1hzt— DLR – English (@DLR_en) March 3, 2022
The German Alliance of Science Organizations said last week that it will immediately halt collaboration with Russian colleges and enterprises until further notice, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
On Wednesday, Russian space agency ROSCOSMOS chief Dimitry Rogozin released a video of employees at the Baikonur launch pad covering up the flags of the United States, Japan, and the United Kingdom on the OneWeb rocket, which is set to launch on Friday. The Indian flag, on the other hand, remained untouched.