Star monitoring system adapted for warfare

A defence firm has managed to adapt monitoring technology used for spotting gamma ray bursts in space for use by soldiers in the field.

Qinetiq says that the technology could be used to help direct troops on the battlefield and also help track targets.

And this unique system does not use lenses to gather light but a sensor array coupled with image processing software.

The system was successful in space because it coped better with adverse condition, Dr Chris Slinger, Qinetiq's principal investigator on the system, told the BBC.

"It's hard using lenses and mirrors up there to image such short, energetic wavelengths," he said.

Slinger adds that the system will include a "super resolution" mode that can be used to deliver very detailed pictures of one location in its field of view.

Qinetiq is developing the imaging system for the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa).

The Americans also have their own version of the technology used by NASA called coded aperture imaging.

It was used in the Swift satellite to spot gamma ray sources.