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Space Sci-Fi Science

New Chip For Square Kilometer Radio Telescope 88

An anonymous reader writes "ZDNet Aus reported on a new low-noise chip that could help in building the $1.6B Square Kilometer Array, the world's largest radio telescope. Wikipedia claims the telescope will be 50 times as sensitive as current instruments. It will have a resolution able to detect every active galactic nucleus out to a redshift of 6, when the universe was less than 1 billion years old and way crazy. It will have the sensitivity to detect Earth-like radio leakage at a distance of several hundred to a few thousand light years, which could help greatly with the search for extraterrestrial life. The chip's designer, Prof. Jack Singh, commented on the chip's ability to help with quantum computing research, due to its ability to operate at millikelvin temperatures, necessary to prevent quantum decoherence."
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New Chip For Square Kilometer Radio Telescope

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  • by r_jensen11 ( 598210 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @04:31PM (#21959516)
    I hope they put this toward something useful, rather than blow its time on SETI.

    Even if we find life outside our solar system, the aftermath would not be worth-while. We would most likely not be able to communicate with them, and even if we could, we would have to perfect quantum mechanics and have teleportation working properly before communication is practical.
  • Re:Low noise (Score:3, Interesting)

    by imsabbel ( 611519 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @05:09PM (#21960108)
    Thats the same reason why 24bit audio cards for playback (and even for recording if you dont plan any excessive post-processing) is overkill.
    All those SACD players cannot beat the roles of physics, which mean that everything after bit 19 or so is just thermal noice. No matter how expensive the audiophile voodoo happens to be.
  • Re:Low noise (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mentaldrano ( 674767 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @05:59PM (#21961030)
    In addition to radio receivers, this same form of noise affects optical astronomy as well. The CCDs [] used as sensors in optical microscopes are mostly refrigerated as well, sometimes down to 0.3 kelvin, to get around this noise. When you need to count single photons, noise can kill you - and there is no beating Johnson noise. Your only hope is a refrigerator.

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