It’s tough to find a good Internet speed without paying your cable provider through the nose to get it. You know who puts out a really solid wireless connection, though? NASA—provided you live on the Moon, of course.
Called the Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) and constructed by a joint team of NASA and MIT engineers, the set-up consists of four laser transmitters at a ground terminal in New Mexico, which send coded infrared light pulses though four different telescopes and up to a lunar satellite 384,633 kilometers out into the depths of space. As a result, we now have a data uplink with the Moon that reaches up to 19.44 Mbps. If you live in the United States, that’s about two and a half times more powerful than your standard 7.4 Mbps.
But why send wireless signals shooting out into space? Because if we’re going to send people to live on different planets (you know, just like we’ve always dreamed of), then we’re going to need to find some high-speed form of communication that can withstand the incredible distances between worlds. NASA says that in this case, the 20 megabit download rate and 622 Mbps upload rate will also make transmitting to and from faraway satellites much easier. So, even if we never decide to live on the Moon, we’ll be able to get all the scientific data we need from it with much less effort.
Right now, any possible wireless messages between the Moon and the Earth won’t exactly be instantaneous—the Moon is something like 238,900 km (or 1.82 light seconds) away, and the ping for a connection is going to be at least 2.56 seconds. But, this is a fantastic step forward, and scientists are now setting their sites on setting up a similar connection with Mars.
Now, here’s the real problem: explaining to the native Moon people what a wifi connection even is.
(via Geek.com, image via)
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