2008-01-19

Machine for looking the past

Imagine that you have a telescope which would be able to see the Moon at very high resolution. "Very high resolution" means that you would be able to see pixel-for-pixel images of the Moon. For the generation which is using Google Earth and Google Moon -- it is not so hard to imagine such telescope.

Then, send such telescope to the Moon. Distance between Earth and Moon is around 1.255 light seconds, which means that you would be able to see things which were done 2.51 seconds ago. Made much better telescope and send it to Saturn's orbit and you would be able to see a couple of hours ago of past. Make much much better telescope and send it to the orbit of the Alpha Centauri system and you would be able to see around 10 years in the past.

But, this concept is generally stupid. There are some better ways to do so. Let's say that we may put a telescope in the Earth's orbit and that we will say to the telescope system A to store data for a year and then to start to send, to telescope B to wait 10 years, to telescope C to wait 100 years and so on.

While it is not so stupid concept as the first one, it is still stupid. Instead of keeping data for 1 or 100 years in the orbit and use three different systems, we may just keep the data from one telescope system and use them whenever we want: after 5 minutes or after 300 years.

And this is the end of scientific models for making the machine which would be able to read the past. Simply, it would be a big computerized telescope system which would store its data at some place. If we start with it tomorrow, generations which would live 300 years in the future would be able to see their past and our present.

But, let's try a science fiction speculation...

When we are looking at the distant stars and galaxies, we are looking into their past. Astronomers saw a number of galaxies old a couple of billions of years. But, if geologists would like to see even such distant past, we, ordinary people would like to see a couple of years in the past or at the most a dozens of millions of years. Maybe a hundreds of millions of years, but it is not so funny to look at the monocellular life forms. At least, we want to see some big arthropoda or the first trees on the Earth.

If we are able to look at the past of 10 millions of years of some star, that star is "able" to look into the similar past of our star. We need "just" to find a method to see what that star "saw" in that time; of course, without sending anything there. When we find that method, we would be able to look at 20 millions of years into our own history.

And I already may imagine how the "historical hysteria" would look like...

There would be a lot of "historical telescopes" on different parts of our planet, even a number of them on some other planets or so in the Solar system which would have some advantages and some disadvantages. And all of those telescopes would be connected to some of the Internet's successors.

Then, instead of looking to some artistic or scientific movies about some events from the history, we would be able to look at "real" events, like we are looking now some documentary movies from the near history. Some people would prefer to look it in "real time", others would prefer to look them only as well prepared documentaries (it is not so funny to look how someone was sleeping 8 hours per day if you are not a scientist who is doing research about sleeping, that person -- or if you are obsessive toward some person).

Of course, with well developed such technology it would be possible to look into the past old a couple of seconds, couple of hours; and it wouldn't be possible to hide yourself from your friends or lovers.

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