NASA Laser Communication 20x Faster than Broadband

Experiments in what might one day become outer space internet connectivity have far surpassed the expectations of NASA scientists. Using lasers rather than the traditional radio waves for wireless communication, these discoveries may one day allow larger data transmissions much like a standard internet connection.

The tests on the Lunar Laser Communications Mission have far surpassed the expectations of scientists at NASA’a Goddard Space Flight Center, and seem to pave the way for creating an internet connection in space. If the program continues to test positively, it is expected that laser systems will quickly replace the currently used radio systems in satellite communication setups, as well as allowing deep-space internet communication with robots and humans.

During the tests, a laser beam was transmitted from Earth to the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), currently orbiting the moon. The connection was able to relay at 20 Mbps, whilst the link from the orbiting spacecraft back to Earth was relayed at an amazing 622 Mbps. This makes the laser connection a whopping six times more efficient than the radio communication currently used from the moon.

NASA researchers suspect that this development could enable everything from better communication between astronauts and Earth-based research teams, to the ability to stream HD quality videos to astronauts as with a normal internet connection. Even though Mars is 1,000 times further away from the Earth than the moon, there is nothing to suggest that laser connections would not be possible between the two planets.

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