Construction of the largest ever digital camera at one billion pixels for a space mission by the European Space Agency is now complete and it’s called the GAIA. And the name indeed reminds one of Mother Earth of Captain Planet, as rightly pointed out by folks at Engadget
GAIA has been created for a monstrous ambition of mapping one billion stars in our very own galaxy the Milky Way, that too in 3D (Looks like 3D is in demand out of space as well). Now coming back to the camera; it has been created by e2v Technologies in collaboration with the ESA. The camera contains 106 snugly-fit charge coupled devices. These devices are the shape of a credit card and ultra thin too, human hair thick to be precise and are made of silicon carbide (yes it’s the same compound used in bullet proof vests as well).
Each of the silicon carbide slab stores the incoming light as a single pixel and is highly sensitive with an unusually long range. By long we mean that GAIA can measure the thumbnails of a person on the moon from the earth itself. Now that’s some range. Isn’t it?