NASA receives laser beam from 10 million miles away: ‘First light’ – DNyuz

NASA receives laser beam from 10 million miles away: ‘First light’

To infinity and beyond?

A NASA spacecraft has beamed a near-infrared laser nearly 10 million miles into space breaking new ground for the agency.

The NASA Psyche satellite fired the laser which was encoded with data and sent it back to Hale Telescope in Caltech Palomar Observatory, San Diego County California.

The test data was transmitted about 40 times farther than the distance between the moon and the earth, which NASA says is about 238,900 miles. The SpaceX Starship, for context, traveled around 93 miles into space last week.

The successful laser transmission, which NASA describes as a “first light,” took place in the early hours of Nov. 14, when Psyche’s laser transceiver — a cutting-edge instrument capable of sending and receiving near-infrared signals — locked onto a powerful uplink laser sent from a telescope at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) near Wrightwood in California.

The uplink laser helped the flight transceiver aim its downlink laser back to Caltech’s Palomar Observatory. The pointing is then refined by automated systems in the ground station and transceiver.

The first flight is a significant steppingstone toward increasing the amount of data that can be transmitted throughout the solar system, NASA said.

NASA says that it’s been communicating with spacecraft for years using radio frequency, but never using lasers to transmit information from such a distance.

NASA’s Psyche spacecraft was launched in October on SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket and is on a larger mission to explore a metal-rich asteroid that may shed light on earth’s formation. The mission is part of NASA’s Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) experiment.

“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,” said Trudy Kortes, NASA’s director of Technology Demonstrations.

Testing data was sent simultaneously by the uplink-downlink lasers. This procedure is known as “closing link”, and it’s a major objective of the experiment.

The DSOC experiment aims to demonstrate data transmission rates 10 to 100 times greater than the state-of-the-art radio frequency systems used by spacecraft today.

Both radio and near infrared laser communication use electromagnetic waves to send data. However, near-infrared lights pack the data much more tightly, which allows ground stations to get more data.

This will help future human and robotic exploration missions and support higher-resolution science instruments, NASA said.

The news comes weeks after NASA published X-rays of an eerie star’s bones that looked like a cosmic palm.

The post NASA receives laser beam from 10 million miles away: ‘First light’ appeared first on Fox News.