What Is This?

Looking like something out of the Matrix or some sci-fi horror movie, this stunning photo captures something rather impressive. But what the hell is it? A robotic surgeon, perhaps? Maybe the next generation of badass 3D printers? Or could it be a massive robotic eye?

None of the above, silly. It’s an intricate circle of 24 robotic arms that forms part of the European Space Agency’s new K-Band Multi-Object Spectrograph, or KMOS for short.

It’s installed in one of the massive telescopes at ESO’s southern Chile observatory, and uses near-infrared imaging to delve into the depths of objects billions of light years away from Earth. Each arm moves independently, allowing astronomers to track 24 different objects simultaneously.

The goal of the doctor Octavius look-a-like is to peer back into the past using light shifted into the infrared from billions of years ago, in an attempt to find out more about the formation of the universe. When we know where we came from and how the galaxy and all its celestial bodies came to be, it’ll be a lot easier to see where we’re going. So, good luck, Dr. Oc KMOS. [Wired]

Image credit: ESO


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