NASA’s upcoming laser communications relays could change the way the entire solar system communicates with future missions.
According to the agency, these lasers can produce much higher resolution video and photos from space than ever before.
Since 1958, NASA has been using radio waves to communicate with astronauts and astronauts. Although radio waves have proven experience, space travel is becoming more complex and collecting more data than ever before.
Consider the infrared laser as an optical connection for high-speed Internet, not a complex slow dial-up Internet. The laser transmits data from the geosynchronous orbit at 22,000 miles (35,406 kilometers) to Earth at a speed of 1.2 gigabits per second, much like downloading an entire movie in less than a minute.
This will improve the data transfer speed by 10 to 100 times more than radio waves. Invisible infrared light rays have shorter wavelengths than radio waves, so they can transmit more data simultaneously.
Under the current radio system, it would take nine weeks to send a complete map of Mars, but the laser could take up to nine days.
The Laser Communications Relay Show is NASA’s first comprehensive laser relay system for transmitting and receiving data from space to two ground-based optical stations in Table Mountain, California and Halegala in Hawaii. These stations have telescopes that can take laser light and convert it into digital data. Unlike radio antennas, laser receivers are 44 times smaller. Since a satellite can send and receive data, it is a truly two-way system.
The only cut-out for ground-based laser receivers There are atmospheric disturbances such as clouds and turbulence that can interfere with laser signals sent through the atmosphere. The farthest locations of the two recipients were chosen because they both have clear climatic conditions at high altitudes.
As the mission goes into orbit, the team will operate a laser demonstration at an operational center in Las Crooks, New Mexico, preparing it to send tests to ground stations.
The mission is expected to take two years to carry out tests and experiments before supporting space travel, including an optical station to be installed at the International Space Station in the future. It can send data from scientific experiments at the space station to a satellite that sends it back to Earth.
The display acts as a relay satellite, eliminating the need to position the antennas directly on the ground for future missions. Satellite will help reduce the size, weight and power requirements of future spacecraft communications, although the task is limited to the size of a royal hierarchy.
This means that it may be cheaper to embark on future journeys and more scientific tools will be available.
Other missions in development that could test laser communications capabilities include the Orion Artemis II optical communications system, which will provide ultra-high-definition video between NASA and lunar adventure Artemis astronauts.
Launched in 2022, Mission Psyche will reach its asteroid target in 2026. The mission will explore 150 million miles (241 million km) of metal asteroids. To go farther and send data to Earth, try a deep space optical laser.