Fastest internet ever, from New Mexico to the Moon

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NASA has set a new record for data transmission to and from the moon with a 622Mbps transfer carried over laser beams. The space agency used pulsed lasers to transmit data between a ground station in white sands, New Mexico and a spacecraft 239,000 miles away during its recent Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration. The agency was also able to upload error-free data to the LADEE spacecraft — the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer currently orbiting Earth’s moon — at a rate of 20Mbps.

Earlier this year, NASA shot the Mona Lisa into space on a laser beam,

http://www.theverge.com/2013/1/18/3890038/nasa-tests-laser-data-transmission-by-beaming-the-mono-lisa

but only managed to achieve a rate of 300 bits per second in the process. The success of the LLCD — a mission outlined in September — is “the first step in our roadmap toward building the next generation of space communication capability,” according to NASA’s Badri Younes. NASA has previously relied on radio frequency communications during its missions, but says that the technology’s limitations are obvious as the demand for more data sent from and to space increases.

Laser communication will eventually allow spacecraft to beam back better images and 3D video from deep space. Although there’s no set date for the technology’s adoption during standard NASA missions, Younes says the agency is “on the right path to introduce this new capability into operational service soon.”

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4 comments on “Fastest internet ever, from New Mexico to the Moon

  1. I think its really exciting that a lot of things that happen in space start here in NM. Especially so close to the university. I also think it will be cool that we will be able to get better images and even 3D video from deep space. I hope we will get to see these depictions soon.

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  2. This is really cool. I have to admit that I’ve always been a big Star Wars and Star Trek fan and this just really made me think of both. First comes slow communications, next comes faster travel, and who knows? eventually we may all be asking Scotty to beam us up.

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