SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory has designed a 3.2 BILLION pixel camera that it hopes to build in order to “capture the widest, fastest and deepest view of the night sky ever observed.” The above rendering of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) shows just how big this 3 ton camera will be next to a person.
Its deep and frequent cosmic vistas will help answer critical questions about the nature of dark energy and dark matter and aid studies of near-Earth asteroids, Kuiper belt objects, the structure of our galaxy and many other areas of astronomy and fundamental physics.
“With 189 sensors and over 3 tons of components that have to be packed into an extremely tight space, you can imagine this is a very complex instrument,” said Nadine Kurita, the project manager for the LSST camera at SLAC. “But given the enormous challenges required to provide such a comprehensive view of the universe, it’s been an incredible opportunity to design something so unique.”
The camera will accumulate 6 million gigabytes of data per year from images captured of the night sky, which is equivalent to churning out 800,000 images from a Canon 20D per night, every night for an entire year. The LSST should chew through about 30TB of storage per night based on the currently planned implementation. And I thought I had data storage issues…
If the LSST sees its completion, it will find a home in the Andes in northern Chile sometime in 2014.