In a futuristic world, on a small military spaceship, I want to give it an external camera/telescope-like device that has incredible night vision so it can see the landscape underneath the ship in great detail while flying, or simply survey the surroundings while landed. This device would be used in circumstances of ~0.0001 lux, similar to the lighting of an overcast night without moonlight or any artificial lights nearby.
I’d prefer not to go with traditional gen III/ gen IV+ night vision technology since it is monochrome (I would prefer full color). I had a few ideas, but let me know of your ideas and feedback.
Idea 1 would be a deviation of a dslr camera. Some high end low-light cameras in today’s age show promising results for the future. Maybe sophisticated new sensor technology of the future could produce a full color image with minimal noise in the darkest of night.
Idea 1.5 As an addition to the previous paragraph, using a large camera sensor could also increase the amount of light it receives. A full frame camera takes in twice as much light as a crop sensor. So why not take it to the extreme with a massive sensor? Of course it would need a massive lens to accommodate it...
Idea 2 is to use the full spectrum of light to our advantage. I’m not sure how terrestrial objects interact with each type of wavelength, so I’m not sure which ones would be useful to include (I.e. are there even enough x-rays that penetrate the atmosphere to make a difference?). But picking up infrared light and radio waves could also be used to identify various types in of objects and edges, like how a warm blooded creature emits IR waves. This could make for some trouble with translating these wavelengths into the visible spectrum for viewing though. I’m not sure how that would work.
Final notes: Since this device is to be mounted on a ship, it is only somewhat limited to weight, or volume. Also, since this is part of a military ship, cost is of little concern. I’m excited to hear your ideas and feel free to punch holes in my ideas as well.