Earth just received a laser-beamed message from 16 million kilometers away

This could be a game-changer for spacecraft communication.
  • Earth just received a laser-beamed message from 16 million kilometers away
  • NASA conducted the test on November aboard its Psyche spacecraft
  • The data beamed back to Earth using lasers could transform how spacecraft communicate

Published on Nov 21, 2023 at 3:28PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on Nov 21, 2023 at 5:39PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Amelia Jean Hershman-Jones
Earth just received a laser-beamed message from 16 million kilometers away

Earth has just received a laser-beamed message from 16 million kilometers (10 million miles) away.

That’s right, there really isn’t any excuse for boo to leave you on read now humanity can receive messages from this far afield.

The lasers beamed back data from beyond the Moon and back to Earth, an achievement that could transform how spacecraft communicate.

READ MORE! SpaceX launches most powerful rocket in the world to success… and then failure

NASA conducted the test on November 14 aboard its Psyche spacecraft, which launched into space to investigate an asteroid.

Apparently, the spacecraft uses the space agency’s first demonstration of optical communications beyond the Earth-Moon system called DSOC.

The system has the ability to beam data using a flight laser transceiver, a ground laser transmitter, and a ground laser receiver.

The test run achieved its ‘first light’ when Psyche’s laser transceiver locked onto NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) powerful uplink laser beacon at its Table Mountain Observatory.

This then allowed the DSOC’s transceiver to aim its downlink laser at the Hale Telescope at Caltech’s Palomar Observatory 130 kilometers (100 miles) away.

All in all, the laser-beamed message traveled 16 million kilometers – 40 times farther than the Moon is from Earth.

Trudy Kortes, director of Technology Demonstrations at NASA HQ, said this marked a major scientific breakthrough.

“Achieving first light is one of many critical DSOC milestones in the coming months, paving the way toward higher-data-rate communications capable of sending scientific information, high-definition imagery, and streaming video in support of humanity’s next giant leap: sending humans to Mars,” she said in a statement.

Optical communications have been used to send messages from Earth orbit before, however, this is the farthest distance yet by laser beams. 

The further the distance the optical communications have to travel, the more difficult it becomes due to requiring more precision, which is why this latest achievement is a breakthrough for space exploration communication.

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