A billion-pixel camera was attached to the Gaia space telescope that was launched earlier this month. This telescope is now so sensitive that it can measure a person’s thumbnail from the Moon, or to put it another way, detect the width of a human hair from 620 miles away. And no this telescope is not going to be used by the government to spy on you (at least I don’t think so).
According to CNN
Scientists hope to glean more clues about the origin and evolution of the universe, and in particular our own galaxy, after a camera of this incredible scale — fitted to the Gaia space telescope — was launched Thursday (Dec. 19).”
The Gaia space telescope lifted off from French Guiana this month on December 19th and it’s main task is mapping the Milky Way and and a quarter of a million objects in our own solar system (including comets and asteroids) like never before. The camera was designed and built by Astrium for the European Space Agency and is the most sensitive telescope to ever be launched into Space.
The spacecraft, camera, and telescope are said to cost $549 million to build, but the total cost of the mission will come to around $1.02 billion when the expense of the launch and running the mission for its projected five-year lifetime are included.
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