NASA’s Tech Demo Streams First Video From Deep Space via Laser

Everyone knows that the most important part of a tech demo is to make the right impression, and the team over at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) definitely had this part nailed down when they showed off streaming a cat video from deep space using laser technology as part of NASA’s Deep Space Optical Communication (DSOC) program. This system consists out of a ground-based laser transmitter and receiver along with a space-based laser transceiver, which for this experiment was positioned at a distance of 31 million kilometers – 80 times the distance between the Moon and Earth – as a part of the Psyche spacecraft.

After a range of tests with the system to shake out potential issues, the team found that they could establish a 267 Mbps link, with a one-way latency of a mere 101 seconds, allowing Psyche’s transceiver to transmit the preinstalled 15-second high-definition video in effectively real-time and making the cat Taters instantly world-famous. Although the potential for space-based cat videos cannot be underestimated, the main purpose of DSOC is to allow spacecraft to send back much larger data sets than they could before.

For robotic and potential future manned missions DSOC would mean high bandwidth video and data links, enabling more science, better communication and possibly the occasional cat video during interplanetary travel.


via Blog – Hackaday

December 19, 2023 at 08:11PM