Physics, Astronomy & Cosmology / Re: Could plutonium-238 dioxide fuel be used for interstellar travel?« on: Yesterday at 18:18:26 »
What's the point of sending off telescopes into space instead of waiting on earth the extra minutes for the light to come to you? I mean it's even silly when you realise the radio signal from the camera ship will take just as long to travel.
Indeed, it is silly if one were to use these probes in this way.
But there is useful information to be gained:
1) The farther we can spread our cameras the more significant the parallax of their combined images. We can use this information to get more precise distances and use that information to more tightly calibrate some of our other measurements.
2) If the camera can get sufficiently close to any object that its resolution is significantly better than any earth-based or solar-system based telescopes could get.
3) If many of them are launched in different directions, based on survival rates we will also get an idea of how dangerous interstellar space is, and possibly sort of map of which regions (trajectories) are more or less dangerous.
4) also, specifically getting off the earth means that we can avoid problems introduced by the atmosphere (improving our resolution, and allowing many more wavelengths to be observed)