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NASA recently streamed an ultra-HD cat video from deep space using lasers. which covered 19 million miles in just 101 seconds

The footage of a plump orange cat chasing a laser around a grey couch would have had aliens scratching their heads if they had managed to intercept NASA’s space-laser communications earlier this month.

NASA tested a state-of-the-art laser technology that has the potential to completely change how it communicates with astronauts and spacecraft in deep space, using the endearing video of the cat.

NASA’s plans to land humans on Mars depend on increasing bandwidth and transmitting messages from deep space to Earth more quickly.

NASA claims that this is the first ultra-HD video to be streamed from deep space using a laser.

Watch the NASA ultra-HD laser-beam cat video taken in deep space.
NASA streamed this 15-second video of Taters, an employee’s cat, to Earth on December 11 from a spacecraft approximately 19 million miles away using lasers. That is a lunar distance of eighty times.

With a streaming speed of 267 megabits per second (Mbps), the ultra-high definition video covered that distance in just 101 seconds.

According to a press release, Ryan Rogalin, who oversees the project’s receiver electronics at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, “Despite transmitting from millions of miles away, it was able to send the video faster than most broadband internet connections,” 

“In fact, after receiving the video at Palomar [Observatory], it was sent to JPL over the internet, and that connection was slower than the signal coming from deep space,” He went on.

A significant advancement has been made in the “Deep Space Optical Communications” experiment, which is using NASA’s Psyche spacecraft to test new laser technology.

The Palomar telescope in California, which received the video, its dome, Taters’ breed, color, and heart rate, Psyche’s orbital path, and technical information about the laser are all displayed in the graphics that overlay the footage.

How communication with deep-space lasers operates

To assist Psyche in aiming its transmitter, a strong laser signal coming from JPL’s Table Mountain Facility in California serves as a beacon.

The Hale Telescope at Palomar Observatory in San Diego County then receives and downloads the data that the spacecraft beams to Earth using its laser.

The video from Monday then started to play in real time after each frame was transmitted “live” to the Jet Propulsion Lab, according to NASA.

The same technology used in fiber-optic internet is also used in optical communication. Though it may move at the same speed as radio waves, light signals can carry more information, which may come in handy when high-bandwidth files are downloaded and uploaded in the future, as Business Insider’s Marianne Guenot previously reported.

On November 14, the experiment succeeded in beaming a message from approximately 10 million miles away in just 50 seconds, marking the achievement of “first light”. It began gradually raising its data downlink speeds on December 4 and eventually caught up to broadband internet.

NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy stated in the press release that “Increasing our bandwidth is essential to achieving our future exploration and science goals, and we look forward to the continued advancement of this technology and the transformation of how we communicate during future interplanetary missions.”

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