“Most of us would like to think that when it comes to research think tanks, cost is not an issue. Actually, it is, and scientists would love to have unlimited funding, but that is not the way the world works. You’re given a bunch of money, have a deadline, and will need to produce the necessary goods on time. The United States military’s advanced research arm, known as Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is currently developing a foldable space telescope which could image Earth in high resolution detail without breaking the bank.
This particular telescope design is known as the Membrane Optical Imager for Real-Time Exploitation, or MOIRE for short, where it would come in handy where geosynchronous Earth orbit is concerned, being a place 22,000 miles above where majority of the telecommunications satellites reside.
Lt. Col. Larry Gunn, MOIRE program manager, shared, “Membrane optics could enable us to fit much larger, higher-resolution telescopes in smaller and lighter packages. In that respect, we’re ‘breaking the glass ceiling’ that traditional materials impose on optics design. We’re hoping our research could also help greatly reduce overall costs and enable more timely deployment using smaller, less expensive launch vehicles.” Will we be able to peer in to the lives of ordinary folks even more effectively soon?