Google and 19 other universities, labs, and private foundations have joined an initiative that will allow users to navigate through space. The project is called Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) and is expected to begin operations in 2013. The LSST would have the ability to survey the entire sky that is visible through a three-billion pixel digital camera. The camera would be able to scan for exploding supernovae, asteroids, and Kuiper Belt Objects.
Every night, the LSST would generate 30 terabytes (30,000 GBs) of images. University of Arizona (UA) Regents’ Professor of Astronomy, Roger Angel initialized the LSST project and UA astronomer, Philip Pinto simulated the telescope’s functionality to ensure that the instrument would work.
“Googleâ??s mission is to take the worldâ??s information and make it universally accessible and useful. The data from LSST will be an important part of the worldâ??s information, and by being involved in the project we hope to make it easier for that data to become accessible and useful” stated William Coughran, Google’s VP of Engineering.
“The LSST will be the world’s most powerful survey telescope, with vast data management challenges,” stated Donald Sweeney, project manager of LSST. “LSST engineers and scientists have been collaborating with Google on number of these exciting opportunities. Even though the universe is very old, exciting things happen every second. The LSST will be able to find these events hundreds of times better than today’s other big telescopes. Google will help us organize and present the seemingly overwhelming volumes of data collected by the LSST.”
The LSST homepage is located at http://www.lsst.org. The website currently hosts related images, graphics, and other animations.