DARPA's new telescope is ready for aliens

Posted by Aurevoir Chatte

The Air Force and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have just created the world’s coolest telescope, strong enough to see all those aliens on other planets. 

Ok fine, maybe the telescope hasn’t spotted any aliens YET but it does have some unique abilities.

For example, the Space Surveillance Telescope (SST) uses image-capturing CCD (curved charge coupled device) technology and boasts a wide field-of-view and large-aperture optics.

This combination helps the SST to move easily so it can quickly scan the sky - perfect for watching for strange spacecrafts or aliens, of course!

"The SST will give us in a matter of nights the space surveillance data that current telescopes take weeks or months to provide," explained Air Force Lt. Col. Travis Blake, DARPA's Space Surveillance Telescope program manager.

Beyond providing faster data collection, the SST is very sensitive to light, which allows it to see faint objects in deep space that currently are impossible to observe.

The detection and tracking of faint objects requires a large aperture and fast optics. The SST uses a 3.5 meter primary mirror, which is large enough to achieve the desired sensitivity.

The system is an f/1.0 optical design, with a large-area mosaic CCD camera constructed from the curved imagers and a high-speed shutter allowing for fast scanning at the high sensitivity.

Some of the missions assigned to the SST include watching for debris in low earth orbit to help avoid satellite collisions, tracking objects in deep space and taking wide-angle pictures of stars and comets for astronomers.

Although still in testing, the SST did release its first images earlier this year and will continue to be used for deep space image capture.  

(Via Network World