Earth receives laser message from 226 million km away

NASA has confirmed that it has received a mysterious signal from deep space from a distance equivalent to Earth going to the moon 40 times.

But before you get carried away with theories related to extraterrestrial life, the interpretation of this signal is much simpler than that. That’s because the signal was sent to Earth by NASA’s Psyche spacecraft, which is currently 140 million miles (226 million km), or 1.5 times farther away. Far. distance between the earth and the sun.

A demonstration of deep space optical communications technology used laser communications to transmit data 140 million miles, or 1.5 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun.

The laser message was transmitted to Earth by a deep space optical communications transceiver aboard the Psyche spacecraft.

In October 2023, NASA launched a space mission to send the Psyche probe toward an asteroid called Psyche-16. The asteroid is thought to be composed primarily of metals, which are rare in the solar system.

Psyche 16 is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. A NASA vehicle is named after him.

In addition to exploring asteroids, the Psyche spacecraft had another mission: testing laser communications.

The vehicle is equipped with a Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) system, which is intended to enable laser communications over long distances in space and is expected to be much faster than current methods. .

In a notable achievement, the Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) system successfully interacted with the Psyche spacecraft’s radio transmitter, transmitting engineering information and data directly to Earth from the spacecraft more than 140 million miles away. It is now possible.

Meera Srinivasan, director of project operations at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California, said they delivered about 10 minutes of replicated spacecraft data on April 8. After communicating with Psyche’s radio frequency transmitter, a laser communications display transmitted a copy of the data. Sends engineering data to ground control.

This achievement will help future spacecraft use optical communications to enable high-speed transmission of complex scientific information and high-resolution images and video, supporting humanity’s next big leap forward: sending humans to Mars. You can get a glimpse of the method.

During its first test in December 2023, Psyche was just 19 million miles from Earth. Test data was transferred at a speed of 267 Mbps, similar to broadband Internet download speeds.

During the April 8 test, the spacecraft successfully transmitted test data at a maximum speed of 25 megabits per second, exceeding the project’s goal of proving that at least 1 megabit per second can be achieved at that distance.

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