Friday, March 8, 2013

NASA beams Mona Lisa to Moon with laser

In a major advance in laser communication, NASA scientists have beamed a picture of Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, Mona Lisa, to a powerful spacecraft orbiting the Moon. The first laser signal carrying the iconic image, fired from an installation in Maryland, beamed the Mona Lisa to the Moon, to be received 384,400 km away by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which has been orbiting the Moon since 2009.

The Mona Lisa transmission is a major advance in laser communication for interplanetary spacecraft. By transmitting the image piggyback on laser pulses, the team achieved simultaneous laser communication and tracking. The success of the laser transmission was verified by returning of the image to Earth using the spacecraft’s radio telemetry system.

This is the first time anyone achieved one-way laser communication at planetary distances.

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