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5,000 Robots Merge to Map the Universe in 3D (Video)

Posted October 17, 2018

How do you create the largest 3D map of the universe? It’s as easy as teaching 5,000 robots how to “dance.”

Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab

DESI, the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, is an experiment that will target millions of distant galaxies by automatically swiveling fiber-optic positioners (the robots) to point at them and gather their light. In creating this detailed map, scientists hope to learn more about dark energy, which is driving the accelerating expansion of the universe.

Scientists working at Berkeley Lab are assembling this array of robots and their related electronics – which represent hundreds of thousands of individual parts – into a group of 10 wedge-shaped petals that will be fitted together to form a circular focal plane. The focal plane will be mounted near the top of the Mayall Telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona.

Image redit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab via YouTube (screenshot)

Image redit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab via YouTube (screenshot)

This 3-minute video features interviews with two Berkeley Lab scientists:

  • Joseph Silber, Focal Plane Lead Engineer, DESI
  • Claire Poppett, Lead Fiber Scientist for DESI
  • Video Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab

View related videos:

Featured image is a screenshot from video by Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab

Source: Berkeley Lab, by Glenn Roberts Jr.

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