The sheer scale!


A team of researchers suggest we could use existing quantum computing methods to build massive telescope arrays the size of entire planets.

These theoretical observatories could allow us to peek even further into deep space and resolve faraway targets in much higher resolution, something that could "revolutionize astronomical imaging," the team led by Zixin Huang at Macquarie University in Australia argues in a yet-to-be-peer reviewed paper spotted by New Scientist.

Their proposed interferometer — in the world of astronomy, that means an array of individual telescopes that form a single telescope with a much larger aperture — overcomes "physical limitations including loss, noise" by using quantum communication techniques.

Make It Quantum

In the concept, each photon that arrives at the telescope array could be processed one at a time, and be recorded into a special quantum memory storage device.

Since the data from these photons would be quantum entangled — a phenomenon in the quantum world that allows two or more particles to link up despite being far apart, sharing a unified quantum state — the individual telescopes could share information with each other instantaneously.

Self Correction

The final image this process would create could still be riddled with errors and glitches, which is where self-correcting quantum computers come in.

According to previous research, quantum computers would theoretically be able to correct their own errors without having to run any numerical simulations, unlike a classical computer.

Needless to say, the idea of a planet-sized quantum telescope isn't much more than an exciting idea right now, a suggestion of what quantum computers could on one day be capable of.

"There are many more challenges that need to be addressed for a planet-sized device, but this is a good first step," Huang told New Scientist.

READ MORE: Planet-sized telescopes could be possible using quantum technique [New Scientist]

More on the quantum world: Experiment Suggests That Consciousness May Be Rooted in Quantum Physics

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