Next Big Thing – gigapixel space cameras

Monkeys in space are so old-fashioned. It’s time to send some SLR-shaming kit into orbit

How many pixels?

A billion. In space. Oh, yes.

And this film is called...

It’s no fiction - the European Space Agency has unveiled the gigapixel digital camera for its 2013 Gaia mission. Built last month in France, over a hundred different devices set at angles to each other will together give scientists gigantic images of the universe to play with.

You mean work with, right?

Probably, but who could resist playing with ultra-zoomable shots of stars? And, in fact, they’ll still only be able to see a measly one per cent of the stars in the Milky Way.

Any other tricks up their white lab coat sleeves?

As well as the colour and intensity, the camera will capture the motion of stars and asteroids in glorious 3D. It will hover for five years at a point a million and a half kilometres from Earth. Yes – that’s right, it’s a 3D gigapixel hovercam in space. The future’s arrived.

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