Could parts of a camera be spaced out over a distance rather then together to work in a way a normal camera cannot? What characteristics would this camera have over a normal camera?
In the picture the telescope in the picture below the telescope does not have a tube around it so is it necessary to have the lenses covered? Johannes Hevelius built the largest telescope in the world in Gdańsk. Its lens had a diameter of 120 millimeters. https://history.info/on-this-day/the-man-who-built-the-largest-telescope-in-the-world-in-poland-1611/
This answer of another question explains how a laser can be used to correct distortion from the atmosphere and I wander if it can be done with in the lens area?
Well, if the light from one element to the next travels exactly parallel, the distance does nothing except add trouble. If the light from one element to the next does not travel in parallel, you'll either need humongous elements, or so much light will not reach the next element that the camera would not have sufficient light for any reasonable image left. And you certainly would want to avoid stray light entering, so you'd want to have a tube around all that.
That does not sound like a good investment.