NASA achieved a major breakthrough in deep space communication by sending an ultra-high-definition video of a playful cat, named Tater chasing a laser pointer, to the Earth in just 101 seconds.
The cat had traveled 19 million miles to reach the Earth highlighting the effectiveness of the technology demonstrated that used a laser transceiver on a spacecraft to transmit the video at a high bitrate of 267 Mbps. “One of the goals is to demonstrate the ability to transmit broadband video across millions of miles,” said Bill Klipstein, the tech demo’s project manager at JPL.
Faster Than the Fastest
That is technically faster than the current radio frequency systems as well as quicker than the regular space communications.
“This will pave the way for higher-data-rate communications in support of the next giant leap: sending humans to Mars,” the space agency said in a social media post on Monday announcing the feat.
NASA used this kind of fancy laser system to send the video which helps with future missions like going to Mars. The goal is to improve how we send data in space and showcase the potential success of science data and high-resolution imagery for deep space missions.
The cat video platform advancements in:
- Miniaturized technology: The laser communication system used onboard can deal with the Psyche spacecraft, which is known as the NASA mission, to investigate an unusual metal-rich asteroid called 16 Psyche situated in the primary asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It is anticipated to arrive at its target in 2029, although it was launched on October 13,2023.
- Improving optical communications: It helps in demonstrating increased data rate capabilities for future space missions, particularly Mars ones. Where it requires real-time communication with astronauts to send HUMUNGOUS amounts of scientific data and support potential human settlements.
- Increased processing power: The progressed onboard dispensation capabilities are instructed by the capability to encode and decode high-resolution video in real-time on distant spacecraft.
“Nothing on Psyche generates video data, so we usually send packets of randomly generated test data. But to make this significant event more memorable, we decided to work with designers at JPL to create a fun video, which captures the essence of the demo as part of the Psyche mission.” Added Klipstein.
Imagine the next time NASA will send a video to us about a rabbit eating a carrot to prove another crucial milestone in deep space communication technology for more promising interplanetary missions and space exploration.
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