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This Next Generation Camera Aims To Capture Alien Life

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 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

Read More:
With over 1,000 sensors, this camera could scan exoplanets for alien life
https://www.inverse.com/article/61132-aliens-camera-telescope-detect-entanglement-dark-matter
"The NIST researchers were able to measure two entangled photons using their superconducting nanowires and found that spooky action at a distance is a very real thing. Quantum entanglement has also been confirmed to be a real phenomenon by multiple other research teams."

Why your smartphone takes better photographs than the Hubble space telescope
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jul/05/smartphone-better-photographs-hubble-space-telescope
"Looking at the technical specifications for the camera on the Hubble space telescope (HST), you are immediately in a different world. One of 16bit architecture. One of 48k memory and a speed of 1.25MHz. How antiquated! How ancient! How slow!"

The Camera That Went To The Moon And Changed How We See It
https://www.npr.org/2019/07/13/735314929/the-camera-that-went-to-the-moon-and-changed-how-we-see-it
"Like the earliest Hasselblad carried on the final Mercury flights, the Data Camera lacked a conventional viewfinder. Instead, astronauts went through training on Earth to learn how to aim the camera by feel from chest-level, where it was attached to the spacesuit."
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