High Resolution Telescope Array
The oldest form of space scanning is the use of telescopes, and this technology is still in use in the Cosmic Era. The majority of telescopes are no longer located on earth, and now reside in orbital observatories, and on the surface of barren moons. There they are unhindered by atmospheric distortion, and are isolated from the EM and light noise generated by population centers.
The Lippershey Observatory is one of the oldest 'modern' telescopes still in operation. Almost a century old, Lippershey sits in a crater near the north pole of the Moon. Built by the Atlantic Federation as a surveillance center, the telescopes were added after the spy gear. THe spy gear has now been gone for close to sixty years, but the array of 12 telescopes are still in operation, and Lippershey loans out it's processing power for other observatories and data services.
Balor Station sits at the L2 Lagrange point, and only houses three telescopes, but Balor-2 is the largest optical mirror ever made. The Station is a floating observatory, and has a crew of 200 scientists and technicians.
Quantum Signal Processing Center
Space exploration generates a large amount of data, and rather than tying up ground based systems, the observatories and other facilities often have dedicated computer systems. These systems are typically dumbed down versions of existing Artificially Intelligent Supercomputers. The computers are built around quantum circuitry, which allow them to handle data at an astounding rate, and lacking a central persona or sentience, the machines can crunch an amount of data that is simply unimaginable. Compared to the typical AISC, the quantum centers are savants, quirky, often difficult to handle, simple in their operation, but godlike in ability to to produce answers from data.
Quantum Data Centers are not exclusive to space exploration, the machines are used in tandem with Dream Tanks, research and development agencies, statistical and intelligence agencies, and CogNet commerce.
Pondermatics is a major operator of Quantum Signal Processors, and a key manufacturer of L/AISC systems. The interplanetary corporation has it's headquarters in Tycho City on the Moon, and has dozens of centers scattered across the solar system. Their expertise in data processing and security forms the baseline of what the industry is.
The Gargantua Complex on Mercury is the largest Signal Processing Center in the solar system, and is operated and maintained by a multinational coalition supporting heliography, the study of the sun. The center is processing data that will eventually lead to stellar engineering, star lifting, and even stabilizing stellar magnetic fields to control coronal mass ejections and solar storms. This is still only a gleam of a distant dream, but it is on the table for discussion.
Data processing is a huge resource in the Cosmic Era, and most wars are fought online long before actual weapons are fired. Computers are the prime resource in this exchange, and the Pacific Rim Coalition is leading the game in virtual warfare. Their secret weapon is the Signal Cruiser. The Signal Cruiser is a rather plain looking quasi-military airship that houses anywhere from one to five quantum data processors. With full net access, a Signal cruiser only needs to be close to the physical nodes are when hacking is going on to bring their computational power to bear. The Coalition engages in Bait and Hammer missions, setting up honeypot targets to bring in potential hackers from other nations, and catch them by having their ships in appropriate positions.
Neutrinos are quirky little particles; tiny, fast moving, and barely interact with anything around them. This can make them hard to study, which is problematic as the particles seem to hold some importance to dimensional science, arcanotechnology, and other advanced applications. The neutrinoscope is a large body of heavy water surrounded by sensors that detect the rare collisions between neutrinos. The information gathered is vital to understanding the subatomic universe, and expanding many fields of hyper technology.
Neutrinoscopes are rare, as the effort required to build an enclosed body of water is large, and the relative pay out from these detectors is low, and spread out over a long period of time. Interference from outside sources is also a challenge, so most of these stations are located in very remote locations, with popular choices being deep space stations, deep underground, or on barren moons in the deep solar system.
Long Strand Vibration Reader
Superstring theory has been in part validated, in part refuted, and in part completely turned on it's head. What remains is that there are hyperscale structure in space, measuring light years, and mega light years in dimension, and they produce varying forms of radiation, from the standard EM, to thermal, to light and even sound. The longstrand vibration reader is the hypertech equivalent to the cowboy putting his ear to a railroad to hear the vibration of a coming train. The difference being that the train is a screaming banshee of cosmic proportion that happens to be on the other side of the galaxy. Longstrand Vibration readers can also be tuned to listen to the noise generated by black holes, pulsars, quasars, and even the strange and alien noise of seemingly silent deep space.
There are not many of these detectors in existence, as the very nature of their data is questionable. Scientists and technicians exposed to the signal generated from the reader slowly and inexplicably go insane. Rather than peering into the abyss, they cup their ear and strain to hear it whisper.
A tier above the Quantum Signal Processor, the Covenant Processor is an L/AISC that was designed by L/AISCs. The function of much of the Covenant system is a mystery to scientists and technicians, as is it's operating code. There are only a handful of these systems online, and their existence is highly classified. While it is certainly possible to build a Covenant scale AISC, the scientists and engineers of the Cosmic Era are not entirely incorrect in being afraid of building what would amount to a machine god.
Thoth is the most powerful computer in the solar system, and it sits in complete secrecy in the shadow of Neptune. The L/AISC system was built at great expense by the Anunnaki and the computer supports just one of their three Galactic Scopes. The Thoth facility houses a pair of Neutrinoscopes, three longstrand vibration readers, and a Galaxy Scope (see below). The computational power of Thoth is such that if it were sentient and took a notion to crash, and rebuild the entire CogNet on Earth, it could do so in less than two minutes.
L2 Deep Space Scanner/Galactic Scope
The most powerful telescopes have been built in the largest shadows in the solar system, the dark sides of the gas giant planets. There is officially only one Galactic Scope, Galileo Station behind Jupiter. This massive space telescope can peer into the depths of the galaxy, and into the hearts of other galaxies. While not the largest telescopes, the galactic scope project combines the most sophisticated optical telescopes with longstrand readers, radio telescopes, and other arcane sensors. Rather than a single massive eye peering into the darkness, it is a cluster of eyes and antenna, all jointly shared by the nation-states of the Cosmic Era. Being behind the gas giants and lacking a real ability to look inwards towards the sun, and the inner solar system, Galileo has very limited strategic value. Instead, it is used for pure scientific research, SETI projects, and other bleeding edge projects. Galileo is to the Cosmic Era what Hubble or Skylab was decades ago.
There are two other Galactic Scopes in operation in the Solar System. The Atlantic Federation has a second facility, half the size of Galileo behind Saturn. This clandestine facility is a major piece of the Federation space initiative and is involved in deep space energy research, scanning things like particle fountains and magnetars for potential energy, military, or otherwise advantageous technologies. The station is officially unnamed, but the small number of residents refer to it as the Panopticon. The secret society of the Anunnaki maintain a third Galactic Scope behind Neptune, Achlys Station. The station more sophisticated than the other two, but smaller than both. It is largely automated, and is involved in searching for alien life, and potential Imbrian relics in the Kuiper Belt and Oort cloud.
There is exactly one angstrofissure generator in the solar system, and it is a highly sophisticated machine that functionally generates a crack in the fabric of space time and peaks through it. This massive machine allows for technicians to glimpse alien worlds, strange stars, and into the aphasic void seeing the strange sights and creatures that exist there.
The machine is seldom used, as it is functionally a deliberate dimensional fatigue generator. There have been a large number of near disastrous events, only contained by tight protocols and well executed plans. Additionally the mental cost of using the machine is high, with a large percentage of scientists involved in it going insane. Most of the time, the data received is of empty space, or clouds of gas, and clusters of stars. Sometimes it peers into phases of reality that can only be described as hell.
The Angstrofissure generator is a plaything of the Anunnaki, and they have little compunction about a 90% nerve stapling rate among the crew and staff of the station. They do have enough sense to limit how often the machine is used, as it is the most obvious and dangerous example of playing with fire and things man's not meant to know rolled into one secret facility.
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? Responses (2)-2
This post is solid. It covers a wide range of mega observatories and scanning technologies which I frankly would not have thought of.
My favorite line: 'the Covenant Processor is an L/AISC that was designed by L/AISCs'.
A few of the stations are located in the shadows of planets. Does this just mean they are in orbit around those planets, or that they are in orbits designed such that they are never in view from Earth? I would assume that in the Cosmic Age people fly around in space ships so there would not be such a shadow.
The observatories have orbits that keep them in the shadow of the large planets in the solar system. This isn't to hide them from Earth, but rather protect them and block out radiation and light from the sun. The hiding aspect just works in their favor, plus most of the high end secret stuff is out past the asteroid belt, far away from Earth. There are ships and people flying around in them but something like a flight out to Saturn or further is similar to a modern trip to Antarctica, something generally only done by the military and scientists.