Certain astronomical structures such as supernovas, gamma ray bursts, neutron-star mergers and black holes released very high energized photons. These particular photons are difficult to detect. When they are detected, it is often hard to pin-point the exact source of their origin.
Scientists have been trying to find ways to make detection of these illusive high-energy photons more precise and a group of them working at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland believe they have found a solution. They turned to technology that’s been around for nearly forty years.
Inspired by a design of nature, scientists have been using the design of the lobster’s compound eyes for a number of scientific purposes. Most animals that have compound eyes, such as insects and trilobites, use a series of lenses to concentrate the light rays on a concave retina. In the case of the lobster, each ommatidium (segment or division) of the eye uses a reflective surface to concentrate the image on a convex retina. The compound eyes of insects and trilobites, each ommatidium is either round or hexagonal. Lobster’s compound eyes are unique in that the ommatidium are perfectly square.
According to Dr Jonathan Sarfati, the pattern of the lobster’s eye makes it look like graph paper which he says:
The graph paper appearance is caused by the ends of many tiny square tubes on a spherical surface. The sides of the tubes are very flat and shiny mirrors, and their precise geometrical arrangement means that parallel light rays are all reflected to a focus. The square arrangement is crucial, because only with the reflectors at right angles can it form an image from light rays from any direction. Also, only if the tubes are about twice as long as they are wide can they reflect most light rays off exactly two mirrors.
Using this lobster eye technology, Scott Barthelmy, Gerry Skinner and Jordan Camp have been building the Lobster Transient X-ray Detector at the Maryland NASA facility. Their detector will employ an array of square receptors with each one using the same lobster reflective technology patterns receptors arranged on a curve slab. This design will allow the detector to survey a wild field and high angular resolution.
Once completed in three to four years from now, the LTXD will be taken up to the space station where it will be deployed to hopefully detect the elusive high-energy photons, with a greater degree of accuracy than the current systems.
I always find it amazing how man, who is supposed to be so superior to the rest of nature, has to turn to nature, which is supposed to be the result of random chance, for superior technology and design. In this case, the lowly bottom dwelling lobster’s uniquely and perfectly designed eyes just may be the right inspiration to develop high-tech detectors to help us learn more about God’s universe.
Measuring Transient X-Rays With Lobster Eyes, Science Daily, May 18, 2012.
Sarfati, Jonathan. Lobster eyes—brilliant geometric design, Creation, June 2001.
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