Earlier this month, NASA successfully streamed its first video from deep space to Earth.
The 15-second, ultra high-def video featured an orange cat named Taters chasing a laser. To be clear, Taters was not on the actual spaceship. He belongs to an employee of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California.
The video was streamed via laser technology and travelled 19 million miles. This is about 80 times the distance between Earth and the Moon, and despite this, it was transmitted faster than most broadband internet connections.
The video was sent from NASA’s Psyche asteroid probe on December 11.
This achievement marks a significant step in enhancing deep space communication capabilities, demonstrating the potential of optical technologies in interplanetary missions.
“The laser communications demo, which launched with NASA’s Psyche mission on Oct. 13, is designed to transmit data from deep space at rates 10 to 100 times greater than the state-of-the-art radio frequency systems used by deep space missions today,” reads a NASA press release. “As Psyche travels to the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, the technology demonstration will send high-data-rate signals as far out as the Red Planet’s greatest distance from Earth. In doing so, it paves the way for higher-data-rate communications capable of sending complex scientific information, high-definition imagery, and video in support of humanity’s next giant leap: sending humans to Mars.”