Thursday, May 23, 2024
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The Earth receives a laser message from a distance of 226 million km

The Earth receives a laser message from a distance of 226 million km

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

But before getting carried away with theories related to extraterrestrial beings, the interpretation of this signal is much simpler than that, as it was sent to Earth by NASA’s Psyche spacecraft , which is currently 140 million miles (226 million km) away, or 1.5 times as far away. The distance between the Earth and the Sun.

The Deep Space Optical Communications technology demonstration used laser communications to transmit data 140 million miles or 1½ times the distance between Earth and the Sun.

The laser message was sent to Earth by the deep space optical communications transceiver on board the Psyche spacecraft.

In October 2023, NASA launched a space mission in which it sent the “Psyche” spacecraft toward an asteroid called “Psyche 16,” which is believed to consist mainly of metal, which is rare in our solar system.

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

The “Psyche” spacecraft had another mission besides exploring the asteroid, which was to test laser communications.

The vehicle is equipped with the Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) system, which aims to make laser communication possible over vast distances in space, promising much faster communications than current methods.

In a remarkable achievement, the Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) system succeeded in interacting with the Psyche spacecraft’s radio transmitter, allowing it to transmit engineering information and data directly from the spacecraft, from a distance of more than 140 million miles, to Earth.

Meera Srinivasan, project operations lead at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California, explained that they delivered about 10 minutes of duplicate spacecraft data on April 8. After interacting with Psyche’s radio frequency transmitter, the laser communications display sent a copy of the engineering data to ground control.

This achievement provides a glimpse into how spacecraft will use optical communications in the future, enabling higher data rate communications of complex scientific information as well as high-definition images and video to support humanity’s next giant leap of sending humans to Mars. 

During the initial test, in December 2023, when Psyche was only 19 million miles from Earth. Test data was transferred at a rate of 267 Mbps, which is similar to broadband Internet download speeds.

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