STATES CHRONICLE – After NASA proved how advanced their technology is, we would have thought that they would never experience internet speed problems in space. Astronauts aboard the International Space Centre complained about a low-speed broadband connection. If NASA manages to boost the speed of data transfer beyond the present filter of a few megabits per second, then it would provide researchers the chance to develop studies faster.
They would be able to collect information in an efficient way. What is more, an improved internet speed will help astronauts broadcast videos, sending them back to Earth with greater speed. They would easily upload the captures they take of distant planets and stars.
Scientists believe that they are about to experience “a broadband moment,” as they call it, having laser technology to produce a boost for data-transfer speeds by approximately one hundred times during the next few years. NASA explained that for the last sixty years, they have been using radio waves to make possible the communication with spaceships in orbit.
Nevertheless, the improvements brought in the field of optical communications indicate new possibilities to boost the transfer speed. Moreover, as space missions tend to cover massive distances, being further away from home, the laser technology allows scientists to use it with an improved value being able to concentrate in certain locations with pinpoint precision. Thus, it will improve the communications’ reliability.
Abi Biswas, the supervisor of the Optical Communications Systems group at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, stated that laser technology is ideal for enhancing downlink communication from deep space. This technology will provide the use of applications such as offering every astronaut his or her video feed. It may also help them send back to Earth HD, data-rich images even faster than before.
Nevertheless, there are still numerous challenges that may stay block the road to success. For instance, NASA scientists did not yet develop the relevant ground infrastructure for this technology to be available for use in space. They should think of certain locations with clear skies where they need to improve the facilities. Clouds can interfere with the lasers.
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has sent science data to Earth by using only 6 Mbps. Nevertheless, the laser setup may be able to increase the maximum data rate to 250 Mbps.
Image source: wikipedia