NASA sends cat video 19 million miles through space

NASA Achieves Milestone: Transmits Cat Video from 19 Million Miles in Space Using Laser Technology

NASA’s recent Deep Space Optical Communications experiment has made history by successfully transmitting a cat video from a distance of 19 million miles in space. This groundbreaking achievement, which took place on December 11th, marks a significant step towards NASA’s goal of streaming “very high-bandwidth video and other data from deep space” to support future space exploration missions, as stated in a press release by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL).

The experiment involved the use of a flight laser transceiver, capable of sending and receiving near-infrared signals. The encoded near-infrared laser was beamed to the Hale Telescope at Caltech’s Palomar Observatory in San Diego County, California. From there, each frame of the 15-second video was transmitted “live” to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, where it was played in real time.

Despite the record-breaking distance, the video’s signal only took 101 seconds to reach Earth. This remarkable feat showcases the potential of laser communications technology to transmit broadband video across millions of miles.

NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy expressed the significance of this accomplishment, stating, “Increasing our bandwidth is essential to achieving our future exploration and science goals.” The advancement of optical communications will revolutionize how we communicate during future interplanetary missions.

The successful transmission of the cat video is part of NASA’s Psyche mission, launched on October 13th, which aims to transmit data from deep space at rates 10 to 100 times faster than current radio frequency systems. This technology demonstration paves the way for future communication of scientific information, images, and videos that will greatly assist future missions to Mars.

The video itself features a JPL employee’s pet cat named Taters chasing a laser pointer, with multiple graphics overlaid to showcase various aspects of the technology demonstration. These graphics include Palomar’s telescope dome, Psyche’s orbital path, and information related to the laser.

Bill Klipstein, JPL’s project manager for the technology demonstration, emphasized the significance of the event, stating, “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.”

As NASA continues to push the boundaries of space exploration, the successful transmission of a cat video from 19 million miles away serves as a testament to the agency’s commitment to advancing optical communications technology. This achievement not only expands our understanding of deep space communication but also opens doors to new possibilities and discoveries in the vast expanse of the universe.

READ MORE: Pic: NASA astronaut sets record for longest US spaceflight

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