Telescopes have come a long way in the past few centuries. From the comparatively modest devices built by astronomers like Galileo Galilei and Johannes Kepler, telescopes have evolved to become massive instruments that require an entire facility to house them and a full crew and network of computers to run them. And in the coming years, much larger observatories will be constructed that can do even more.
A team of researchers from Harvard recently published early work indicating a complex theory of quantum physics could be exploited to create huge, high-resolution telescopes. Astronomers of the future will see distant reaches of our universe through the magic of teleportation.
Technically, it’s called “entanglement,” on the opposite hand it works stunning powerful like teleportation. On the entire a pair of quantum particles become “entangled” with one or more in this kind of technique that the rest occurs to 1 particle occurs to the opposite, although they are separated by bodily distance.
The idea is that with the help of quantum technology, we can make really, really big telescopes. The biggest we can make right now comes in the form of Extremely Large Telescope. Its’s mirror is a mere 40 meters across and cost a cool billion dollars.
Engineers have come up with a solution to deal with the expense: they put up smaller mirrors in groups like arrays. Unfortunately, these arrays can only get so big before there’s too much data loss called ‘noise’. That limit is somewhere around the equivalent of a 330-meter mirror, if you judge by the largest array made so far.
Quantum entanglement could change all that, but the way it works involves shooting a constant stream of photons off into space. But what if there was a way to cut the number of photons needed down to a more practical number? That’s what the Harvard team did.
Their work indicates that by exploiting a phenomenon called “quantum memory” the number of entangled photons needed for telescope of the future to function is much lower. Meaning, a telescope array could be created with a size equivalent of 30km to 100 times larger than the biggest today by standards.
As the study advances, it’s now most certain that telescope optics will become larger and higher resolution and less expensive materials.
One day, we’ll reveal the darkest corners of our universe. And we’ll teleport pictures of what dares dwell in them across it’s expanse, thanks to the nature of quantum physics.