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31 million kilometers in 101 seconds

31 million kilometers in 101 seconds

MThrough a video clip of footage from space, the US space agency NASA tested an advanced laser communications system.

The 15-second video shows Taters, a NASA employee cat. According to NASA, it was sent to Earth by laser on Monday from a space probe that is currently 31 million kilometers away from our planet.

In the high-resolution video, an orange tabby cat chases a laser dot. The recording was saved on the Psyche probe before launch. The probe is on its way to the asteroid of the same name, which is 3.6 billion kilometers from Earth and is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The probe is scheduled to reach it in 2029.

On its journey through space, NASA used the probe to test a new laser communications system. The transmitted data was received by the Hale Telescope in California and transmitted to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Ultra HD video transfer took just 101 seconds.

Preparing for manned Mars missions

NASA wanted to test the transmission of high data rates via lasers over long distances, which is important for complex missions such as the planned manned Mars missions.

Of course, there’s no need for cat videos on missions like this. “We typically send out packages with randomly generated test data,” said Bill Klippstein, a JPL expert. In order to make the experience “even more special”, an “entertainment video” has now been created and broadcast for the first time.

Space missions traditionally use radio communications to send and receive data. However, laser communication allows data rates ten to hundred times higher.

The cat’s video was transmitted at a data rate of 267 Mbps, which is faster than most broadband Internet services on Earth.

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