European Space Agency creates one billion pixel camera, calls her GAIA originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 10 Jul 2011 15:28:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink Slashdot | European Space Agency | Email this | Comments
Monday, July 11, 2011
European Space Agency devised an ambitious mission to map one billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy -- in 3D (insert Joey Lawrence 'whoa!'). To do this, it enlisted UK-based e2v Technologies and built an immense digital camera comprised of 106 snugly-fit charge coupled devices -- the largest ever for a space program. These credit card-shaped, human hair-thick slabs of silicon carbide act like tiny galactic eyes, each storing incoming light as a single pixel. Not sufficiently impressed? Then consider this: the stellar cam is so all-seeing, "it could measure the thumbnails of a person on the Moon" -- from Earth. Yeah. Set to launch on the Soyuz-Fregat sometime this year, the celestial surveyor will make its five-year home in the Earth-Sun L2 Lagrange point, beaming its outerspace discoveries to radio dishes in Spain and Australia -- and occasionally peeping in your neighbor's window.