NASA shoots lasers at the moon to create high speed wireless internet access | Connectedly

NASA shoots lasers at the moon to create high speed wireless internet access

By Rich Edmonds on 29 May 2014 07:06 am

Internet access in the 21st century has become a luxury many millions take full advantage of on a daily basis. Connecting regions from around the world, it's a technology that's taken for granted but we could well see access be extended beyond Earth itself – a group of researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have worked with NASA to bring broadband to our closest neighbor.

Utilizing four laser beams and high-speed fiber optics, the teams have managed to achieve average speeds of 19.44 Mbps (peaking at 622 Mbps), which is actually faster than what many consumers are able to enjoy here on Earth. Taking the UK as an example, where communications regulator Ofcom calculates the average broadband speed to be just short of 18 Mbps, rarely hitting 12 Mbps in rural areas.

NASA is expected to present findings and further explain the technology next month, which includes beaming lasers at an orbiting satellite. Moves such as this could also open up further opportunities with more advanced communications beyond the Moon and into deep space.

Could you imagine taking a commercial flight to the Moon with on-board Wi-Fi to then be able to Skype with relatives back on Earth? Let us know your thoughts on the development in the comments.

Source: Wired, via: Neowin

Reader comments

NASA shoots lasers at the moon to create high speed wireless internet access


Seeing how many people are willing to take a one way trip to Mars, it's a wonder we haven't already planned a moon base yet

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Pretty cool stuff... Glad to know that we can have Internet on the moon... In case I ever move there.

Now THAT'S being connected. Everywhere. And trips to the moon might be a popular 'day out' when I'm old and grey, so I guess I can imagine myself doing that. Just to get out of the house sometimes, haha.

That's really neat. It actually reminds me of the episode of Big Bang Theory, when the guys shoot a laser at the moon. I hope space travel becomes affordable in my life time....

DAMN, interesting technology!  I want either this or Google Fiber as my next internet connection!  "This is ground control to Major Tom!"

That's better than my 4G connection here in Dallas! Now if people would only spend money to develop better broadband in populated areas of the Earth instead of a place where people will not visit for decades.....

I'm definitely more interested in how this compares to NASA's current method of communicating information to and from the various space vessels already deployed or in development. I'm not sure how they do it now, but being able to send larger amounts of data more quickly from future rovers or space vessels like the current Voyager on an interstellar mission would likely benefit all these missions, and allow us to advance the science that much quicker.

The last guy that fired lasers at the moon wanted to etch his name in the surface. He was stopped, thank goodness, but managed to get three letters done: "CHA".


I'm at 1Mbps... At 14km of my Internet Service Provider... It's sad that in theory I can get better internet with an ISP 768 800km away.

LaserComm is pretty cool. wont be practical here on earth cause of the needed line of sight. But for space. yes.

Not sure if it's a good idea to let "aliens" get the wrong first impression about us. They see stuff people put on the internet and they may never contact us again! Damn you Miley Cyrus! :(

So aliens can watch pr0n too... :D
And if I want to go to the Moon for a holiday, I can finally use the internet while I'm "abroad" so I don't have to stay offline. :D
I didn't know how did I live without it before.

(sorry for my bad english...)

This is cool. And hopefully higher internet speed won't cost too much bucks.

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