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NASA and MIT are bringing internet access to the moon

In a bit of news from the “this is depressing” department, a team from MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory has managed to come up with a means by which those on the moon can enjoy broadband-like connectivity for transmitting data to and from earth. We say that as we do, because there are plenty of people in the U.S. without such speedy Web service and, yet, those on the moon will be able to enjoy faster networking than them. That’s thanks to the Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration, an uplink system whose details and performance will be revealed, in full, at a June presentation at the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics in San Jose, California.

Internet speeds too slow? You might be able to download faster by moving to the moon, according to new research from NASAand MIT. These two entities teamed up to push the bounds of wireless communication, and have now successfully created a data uplink with the moon that clocks in at 19.44 Mbps. For reference, the average speed in the US is a paltry 7.4 Mbps. It’s not as simple as pointing an antenna at the moon and pushing ‘go.’ NASA and MIT employed an array of four telescopes at a ground terminal in New Mexico to send the signals. A lasertransmitter was fed into each telescope and used to send coded pulses of infrared light with a total transmitted power of 40 watts. That was enough power to push the signal 384,633 km to a lunar satellite where less than one billionth of a watt was received. The team calls this the Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD).

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Written by Carl Durrek

Carl is a gaming fanatic, forever stuck on Reddit and all-around lover of food.

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