World’s largest digital camera nears completion

MENLO PARK, Calif. — Researchers are close to completing the world’s largest digital camera that will take pictures of the night sky, situated high on an Andes mountaintop observatory in Chile.

The Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) project will use a 3.2 gigapixel camera capable of seeing a particle of dust on the moon, according to New Scientist. The camera with a five-foot-wide lens is being built by researchers at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University.

When testing is complete in California, the camera will be flown via a jumbo jet to Santiago, Chile, and moved onto a train. From there, it will travel to the base of Cerro Pachon, a nearly 9,000-foot mountain in the Andes, with the Vera C. Rubin Observatory at the summit.

Once in place, the camera will be used to capture and index around 20 billion galaxies over ten years, according to New Scientist.

The nearly $1 billion project is expected to reveal more information about our universe and any threats.

“We’ll be able to look at the origins and history of our solar system and also potentially to find objects that could threaten the Earth eventually, so that’s interesting in its own right,” Steven Ritz, a physics professor at UC Santa Cruz told KNTV.

In the meantime, researchers will continue to test the massive camera before it’s disassembled and sent to South America in 2023. It’s expected to be operational by the end of 2024, according to Yahoo News.