Locals focus on new resolution
Australian engineers are seeking a clearer view from space.
Experts from Melbourne's La Trobe University are teaming up with the German Aerospace centre to develop the highest-resolution camera ever made.
“It will be a game-changer in terms of resolution and number of channels utilised for imaging the earth's surface,” says La Trobe's Dr Peter Moar.
The high-resolution camera is officially known as an ‘earth sensing imaging spectrometer’ and it is able to see in the same visual spectrum as the human eye as well as infrared frequencies.
The device will be sent up to the International Space Station to beam what should be stunningly-detailed pictures back to earth.
The engineers behind the project say clearer pictures will help studies of everthing from climate science to agriculture and emergency management.
“It's extremely valuable when it comes to analysing the vegetation state on the earth's surface, crop analysis, predicting status of crops ... it can also be used for disaster management mitigation - fighting fires and reacting to floods,” said Dr Moar.
La Trobe University will develop the hardware and software for the controls of the $20 million project, while the German space centre focuses on the optics.
“This system has been designed to withstand all sorts of space conditions including high radiation - we're talking about electronics that's worth half a million in componentry alone,” said lead researcher Dr Eddie Custovic.
A prototype has already been developed after just six months of the project’s life.
The first phase model will be tested throughout next year, with a version fit for space travel to be launched in 2017.