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This Next Generation Camera Aims To Capture Alien Life

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Channel: Seeker
Categories: Astronomy   |   Science  
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Researchers at NIST recently unveiled a superconducting camera so sensitive, it can count single particles of light. Could this be the tool we need to finally detect alien life?
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Last year, researchers at NIST unveiled one of the highest-performance cameras ever developed. With more than 1,000 sensors, the device was designed to ride along a future space-based telescope.

Cameras are the foundational instruments of every space telescope. They have allowed us to see the unseeable, shedding light on how planets are born and even the approximate age of the universe. And now this camera is pushing the limits of what we can detect even further to include the chemical signatures of alien life.

When the James Webb Space Telescope finally launches, its suite of next-generation imaging systems will give us views of the universe weve never seen before. But theres one important instrument that James Webb doesnt haveone that could unlock the secret recipe of extraterrestrial life. Thats where this new camera comes in.

Developed by a team at NIST, it is composed of sensors so groundbreakingly sensitive that they count single particles of light, or photons, to generate an image. And the camera was developed partially in the hopes of flying it on NASAs next, next-generation telescope: Origins.

Find out more about engineering behind the new ultra-sensitive cam, what challenges the team had to overcome, and more in this Elements.

#NASA #telescope #space #camera #exploration #seeker #science #elements

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