I've had an idea stuck in my head for awhile. I was somewhat inspired by a quote the other day, and I'd really just like to write it out to get it out of my head.
An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea- Buddha
When Ben Franklin was dabbling with his experiments with electricity, I don't think that he could've possibly imagined how important it would become. I'm sure that he foresaw it in every household, used for lighting. He may have even imagined us using it for communication of some sort. But I don't think that he could've ever predicted that it would lead to a worldwide network of interconnected machines.
Now, what if we had satellites that were hundreds of thousands of times more powerful that the ones currently used by Google Earth and other maps. And what if they could provide a real-time feed of everything occurring on the entire planet at once. It's not totally outside the realm of impossible. It would be really expensive with todays technology, but not impossible.
And what if these satellites had cameras that were sensitive enough to pick up the minute vibrations of materials so that we could also record every sound simultaneously. There are currently devices that can do this with lasers, but lets assume that in the future, devices can have enough error correction to work with ambient light and be sensitive enough to work by the light of the stars. Let's also assume that clouds won't be an issue since aside from recording the spectrum of radiation we know as visible light they will also be recording the rest of the spectrum from infrared and microwaves all the way up to gamma and cosmic radiation.
So far so good, right? While improbable and impractical, nothing so far is impossible. Now what if all of these satellites had lenses on them that would make the Hubble look like a magnifying glass? And what if their CCDs were sensitive enough to record an image like the Ultra Deep Field in a millisecond.
Now comes the stretch. What if we launched these satellites out at faster the speed of light. Since the light it would be receiving would be from before where it started, it would actually be recording time backwards. During their travels these satellites could record an accurate history of Earth. It would settle many arguments and answer many questions. I realize that this is approaching the limits of what is actually impossible since many don't believe that anything can travel faster than the speed of light. To use Einstein's example though, if you were on a train moving at nearly the speed of light, and you walked from the back of the train to the front, wouldn't you be moving faster that the speed of light?
Of course if all of that wasn't unimaginable enough, who's going to analyze this data? Will Google be up to the challenge? We would definitely need something like Asimov's Foundation at that point. I'll tell you what, it would make ZFS seem pretty small as well.
(See what watching too many specials on the Discovery Channel does?)