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NASA has successfully received a laser-beamed message from 16 million kilometers away in deep space

NASA reports that a laser beam message has reached Earth from a distance of 16 million miles


The most far reaching demonstration of laser communications was recently accomplished by an experiment aboard NASA’s Psyche project. Marking the successful completion of its first significant milestone. In the future, the technology demonstration might assist NASA missions. In going farther into space and learning more about the universe’s beginnings. Psyche, which was launched in the middle of October, is currently travelling to see a metal asteroid. Between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter for the first time in human history. The spaceship will travel roughly 2.2 billion miles (3.6 billion km) over the course of the following six years.

The Tech Demo

The tech demo tested the transmission of data to and from Earth using an invisible near-infrared laser. It was intended to be the US space agency’s farthest distant demonstration of high-bandwidth laser communications. Compared to conventional radio wave methods NASA uses on past missions. The laser can transmit data at speeds of up to 100 times faster. If this experiment proves to be completely successful over the coming years. It may serve as the foundation for future technology that facilitates communication between humans and Martian explorers.


DSOC just accomplished what its engineers dubbed “first light,” effectively transmitting and receiving its first set of data. For the first time, the experiment shoot a laser encoded with information from far beyond the moon. The test data was transmitted to the Hale Telescope at the Palomar Observatory of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, from a distance of approximately 10 million miles (16 million km).

Laser Beams Travelling in Space

Psyche’s flight laser transceiver instrument detected a laser beacon transmitted by the Optical Communications Telescope Laboratory at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Table Mountain Facility near Wrightwood, California, on November 14, marking the first light of the mission. Psyche’s transceiver used the first beacon it received to help point its laser and transmit data back to the Hale Telescope, situated approximately 160 kilometres (100 miles) south of Table Mountain

Low-Earth Orbit

Experiments have transmitted optical communications to the moon and from low Earth orbit. Additionally, the Artemis II spacecraft will transmit high-definition video of a crewed circumnavigation of the moon using laser communications. However, DSOC is the first attempt at sending laser communications beyond deep space. It necessitates extremely accurate pointing and aim across millions of miles.

The crew will be able to work on improving the technologies. Employed in the laser’s pointing precision during the first test of the tech demo’s capabilities. To the Hale Telescope when the spacecraft moves further away from Earth once the team has ticked that option.

Upcoming Difficulties

Since it’s an experiment, DSOC won’t really transmit the scientific data that the Psyche mission acquired. Earthly detector arrays are able to receive the signal from Psyche and decipher the information contained in the photons. NASA may have to rethink how it transmits and receives data from its deep space missions in light of this type of optical communication. Optical communication will enable human exploration of deep space and is a boon for scientists and researchers who always want more from their space missions.

The duration of time it takes for the laser communications to cross space will be tracked by the DSOC team. It took the laser just fifty seconds to travel from Psyche to Earth during first light. It is anticipated that the laser will take 20 minutes to go one way at the furthest point from Earth to the spaceship. Additionally, Earth will rotate and the spacecraft will keep moving during that period.


The Psyche spacecraft continues to prepare for its primary mission, powering on propulsion systems and testing the scientific instruments it will need to study the asteroid when it arrives in July 2029. The mission could determine whether the asteroid is the exposed core of an early planetary building block from the beginning of the solar system.






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