Transferring large data from space to Earth is not as fast as we might think, that is why NASA is working on ways to allow for laser-based communication systems. These systems will link satellites in space with the base station here on Earth. Once the connection is linked, scientists would have the ability to transfer photos and videos at a higher speed compared to what is available now.
According to NASA:
The LLCD mission will use a highly reliable infrared laser, similar to those used to bring high-speed data over fiber optic cables into our workplaces and homes. Data, sent in the form of hundreds of millions of short pulses of light every second, will be sent by the LADEE spacecraft to any one of three ground telescopes in New Mexico, California and Spain.
Sounds great, right? It sure is, however; there’s a 238,900-mile gap separating the satellite and NASA’s posts on the ground, which means problems could arise during data transfer. We expect the smart people at NASA to have a backup plan if something should go sour.
Furthermore, the NASA reports also claims the laser-based communication system would allow for data transfer speeds 6 times faster than what is currently available. That means NASA could have download speeds at around 622Mbps, and upload speeds somewhere around 20Mbps. If everything goes according to plan for the future, we could one day be tuning into a NASA live video broadcast from space in full HD, how well does that tickle your fancy?
No word on how long before the laser-based communication systems come into play, but whenever it does, we’ll be tuning into NASA’s live feed with popcorn and Jager in hand.