Thursday, April 16, 2009

Just Before Sleep Inspration

So I'm laying in bed about to fall asleep, when this bizarre thought pops into me head: Scanning passes at low resolution and high sensitivity for space remote sensing or ground based observatories should provide necessary data to generate high resolution imagery.

Yeah, I know. Who thinks up these things right before they fall asleep. Let me share the details with you all. Because I'm sure that's why you come to anyway...

Ponder on this image of MOLA instrument altitude profiles of MARS as you read.

Think about itPlay with it

Overlay linear paths of intensity that criss cross the target. Match up the "altitudes" of the topographic profiles of flux intensity. To make an analogy, If you were fixed at a certain spot above the ground and you scanned many straight lines across the ground, you should be able to dump all those altitude profiles into a computer which can match up altitudes of the different lines to reconstruct the 3d topography. So If there is a non-uniform peak that you cross with 50 lines at different angles, as long as you have some cross cutting lines that can tie everything together, you should be able to reconstruct the peak by giving all of the lines a common point in two dimensions (the peak) and use the cross cutting line(s) to determine the only possible set of altitude profile orientations (through the peak) that would not violate the altitudes in the cross cutting line.

After you determine that this principal works, you realize that you don't have to have all the lines going through the same point, but any number of straight lines that criss cross each other will contain the data necessary to reconstruct the topography at an average resolution as fine as the average distance between the lines in the region of interest.

The number of cross cutting lines you need before you can determine the orientation of lines and points of intersections of the lines is finite.

So, If you have a very high sensitivity instrument with high signal to noise, you should be able to sweep it across a bright celestial target and combine the sweeps, just like you do with the laser passes on the peak, to generate the high angular resolution image.

Bottom line: Itty bitty telescope scanning bright celestial object yields nice picture.