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In A First, Earth Receives Its Farthest Laser Message From Deep Space

New Delhi, Drishti Mail: In one major achievement, earth has received laser-beamed communication from nearly 10 million miles (16 million kilometers) away – about 40 times farther than the Moon is from Earth. The communication was done by the Hale Telescope at Caltech’s Palomar Observatory in San Diego County, California, according to NASA. Earth has received a laser-beamed communication from so far for the first time.

“Achieving first light is one of many critical DSOC milestones in the coming months, paving the way toward higher-data-rate communications capable of sending scientific information, high-definition imagery, and streaming video in support of humanity’s next giant leap: sending humans to Mars,” said Trudy Kortes, director of Technology Demonstrations for the Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

According to NASA, the communication was made possible through the recently launched Psyche spacecraft, DSOC, which is configured to send high-bandwidth test data to Earth during its two-year technology demonstration as Psyche travels to the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

The first light was received by the tech demo in the early hours of November 14. Speaking about the same, Abi Biswas, project technologist for DSOC at JPL said, “Achieving first light is a tremendous achievement. The ground systems successfully detected the deep space laser photons from DSOC’s flight transceiver aboard Psyche. And we were also able to send some data, meaning we were able to exchange ‘bits of light’ from and to deep space.”

According to the space agency, DSOC is the latest in a series of optical communication demonstrations funded by the Technology Demonstration Missions (TDM) program within NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate and SCaN program within the agency’s Space Operations Mission Directorate.

The Psyche mission is led by Arizona State University. JPL is responsible for the mission’s overall management, system engineering, integration and test, and mission operations, according to NASA.

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