Laser Message From Deep Space Reaches Earth From 16 Million Km

Earth has successfully received laser-beam communication from a distance of 16 million kilometers, or 10 million miles, in a ground-breaking accomplishment. 

That's the longest demonstration of optical communications, according to NASA, forty times farther than Earth-moon distance.

The Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) instrument, which was aboard NASA's Psyche mission, made the experiment possible.

It successfully launched from Florida's Kennedy Space Center on October 13 and has since returned to Earth with a laser-beamed message. 

A communication link was established between the Psyche spacecraft and the Hale Telescope at Palomar Observatory in California on November 14. 

During the test, it took roughly 50 seconds for the near-infrared photons from DSOC to reach Earth from Psyche.

Interestingly, the 'first light' is the successful creation of the communications link. Director of Technology Demonstrations at NASA Headquarters Trudy Kortes stated.

"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."

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