I would like to know what number of space telescopes, ideally mass produced ones using current technology and that could be cheaply manufactured and launched en-mass via the future SpaceX BFR. How many and how spaced out would they need to be to directly observe planets of the closest say 100 million stars in out galaxy?

Secondly assuming a good design can be created and enter into mass production how would their resolving power increase though signal combining via interferometry as is already done for radio telescopes on earth. Surely in space 10 to 100 to 1000 or even 10,000 would collectively improve resolution to astronomical scales :)

Note I am suggesting cheap telescopes that gain ability through numbers and trying to understand if this option might be more economical and produce better results than a few very expensive space telescopes. This whole idea is based on the idea that BFR is 100% reusable and can haul much more into space at a much cheaper rate. This in essence is an economical question on how best space budget money might be spent. Quantity vs quality, I am assuming resolving power improves better with quantity.


closed as unclear what you're asking by Jan Doggen, Rory Alsop, Manu H, CBredlow, ForgeMonkey Feb 23 '18 at 23:18

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    $\begingroup$ This question is so long, and so heavily prefaced that it's hard to read and determine exactly how to answer it. I think that this raises one, fairly coherent issue, but could you consider trying to shorten this, or making a clearly marked my question is section? Also, how would a "network of (optical) telescopes" be used to improve resolution? It of course may be possible, but could you add a link or state how this would be done? $\endgroup$ – uhoh Feb 23 '18 at 0:58
  • $\begingroup$ I see you've made substantial edits and shortened the question substantially, but still, the idea of a network of optical telescopes using interferometry is both quite a challenge, and not really on topic here. For that question, I'd recommend that you ask it in Astronomy SE where you can find other questions about exoplanets and telescopes and interferometry. People are much more successful with Stack Exchange learning about things when they break it up into smaller, separate questions. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Oct 12 '18 at 16:27
  • $\begingroup$ Why not just ask how many "Hubble telescopes could a Falcon Heavy put in low earth orbit?" here, and "Could light from several separate optical space telescopes somehow be combined interferometrically to do optical detection of exoplanets?" in Astronomy SE. Once you've gotten those answers, you may discover that your next question will be different than what you expected. Welcome Back to Space by the way! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Oct 12 '18 at 16:29