NASA's groundbreaking Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) experiment has shattered records, achieving "first light" by successfully transmitting data via laser over an astounding distance of nearly 10 million miles (16 million km). This achievement, approximately 40 times farther than the Moon's distance from Earth, signals a transformative leap in deep space communication technology.
Part of the recently launched Psyche spacecraft, the DSOC experiment utilised a near-infrared laser loaded with test data to communicate with the Hale Telescope at Caltech's Palomar Observatory in California. This milestone sets a new record for optical communications, positioning DSOC as a game-changing technology for deep space communication, according to NASA.
The historic "first light" moment occurred on November 14 when DSOC's flight laser transceiver, located on Psyche, successfully locked onto an uplink laser beacon transmitted from the Optical Communications Telescope Laboratory at JPL's Table Mountain Facility near Wrightwood, California. Simultaneously, test data was sent via the uplink and downlink lasers, a critical step known as "closing the link," a primary objective for the experiment.
DSOC aims to send high-bandwidth test data to Earth during its two-year technology demonstration while the Psyche spacecraft travels to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. This achievement is a vital step towards enabling high-data-rate communications crucial for future space exploration, including human missions to Mars, as per NASA's statement.
DSOC's primary goal is to demonstrate data transmission rates 10 to 100 times greater than current state-of-the-art radio frequency systems used by spacecraft. This advancement holds promiseRead more on tech.hindustantimes.com