May 30, 2023

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NASA will communicate from space to Earth via a high-speed laser

Infrared laser signals are a technology that NASA will develop to improve communication between space and Earth

there NASA Preparing to open new horizons, is the frontier of communications between space and Earth, using infrared laser signals and no longer radio waves. The project is ambitious and follows in the footsteps of the five-year program already presented by China. The first steps have already been taken, as evidenced by a recent press release, in which NASA announced that it has begun construction of the second ground station that will send or receive messages using lasers. The headquarters are in Hawaii, while the first station was built in California.

Boundaries not to be underestimated

One of the limitations of this innovative system is disturbances that can cause atmospheric interference to communication, such as invalidating or even blocking the exchange of messages. It is no coincidence that the locations of the two ground stations were chosen, in particular that of Hawaii, where the skies are supposed to remain clear for most of the year. In this first testing phase, weather conditions will also be monitored in order to choose the best location and therefore the station from which to transmit.

Increase data transfer speed

On the other hand, the advantages of laser contact are much greater. First of all, the transmission speed and with it also the amount of transferable data. High-resolution images will be received in less time by space telescopes. But the volume and consumption of the whole part affecting communications will also be reduced. In fact, the components of optical systems are more compact than those found in radio waves and in confined environments such as those in spacecraft and sensors, the benefits are immediate and visible. Read on..

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Cubesat has been put into orbit, Low Earth, to test this new technology and discover its possible limits and possible areas of implementation. Cubes are relatively inexpensive systems that are used only in this type of experiment. The goal is to test laser communication first at the planetary level and then move to the more ambitious interplanetary level, targeting the Moon and Mars, with the hope of being able to reach transmission speeds of up to 200 Gbps.