DARPA is definitely not building a giant death ray in space

Credit: DARPA

DARPA recently released a statement detailing a project called MOIRE. Sounding a little bit like the kiss of death, DARPA assures us the project is just a simple telescope. It may or may not also have lasers and/or look like a giant laser cannon.

According to DARPA, Project MOIRE has been going on since 2010, and is already in Phase 2 of development. The project's aim is to construct and launch a number of geo-synchronous satellites which will house Earth-facing telescopes capable of zooming in and taking a close look at you, wherever you are on the globe. It's totally not as bad as a giant death ray, which, again, MOIRE most certainly is not.

Not just your average space telescope, MOIRE is actually a collapsible structure housing a thin membrane optic which has been etched with a diffractive pattern. Light that is captured on the optic is then focused onto a sensor where it can be translated into an HD image. As part of the current phase of its development, some of MOIRE's optical membrane will be transported to space as part of the USAF's FalconSAT-7 program.

DARPA is also still working on reducing the mass of the optical hardware aboard current versions of MOIRE before finalizing its construction. That of course, is good news, since whether MOIRE is a giant death ray or "just" an ever-watchful network of spy satellites, we can relax knowing that DARPA has yet to fully develop or deploy this spacecraft, which again, is totally not a giant death ray.


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