NASA sends cat video 31 million kilometres by area

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By Calvin S. Nelson

NASA has damaged its personal file by transmitting ultra-high-definition video over a distance of 31 million kilometres from deep area. The footage wasn’t of distant celestial our bodies or spacecraft, however of a cat referred to as Taters chasing the sunshine from a laser pointer.

Abhijit Biswas at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) tells New Scientist that Taters was chosen for the primary transmission over that distance as a result of one in all the primary tv check broadcasts additionally featured a cat – the cartoon feline Felix. The inclusion of a laser pointer was a visible nod to the usage of lasers within the transmission, he says.

“Apparently this cat could be very keen on chasing laser pointers, so in some way that each one got here collectively on this video,” says Biswas.

The 15 seconds of footage was transmitted from NASA’s Deep Area Optical Communications (DSOC) experiment, which is hitching a experience on the Psyche spacecraft that launched in October to intercept an asteroid of the identical identify.

A video of Taters the cat chasing a laser gentle has been beamed again from area


The video of Taters – a JPL worker’s pet – was shot and uploaded to the craft earlier than launch. The movie additionally exhibits Psyche’s orbital path, the telescope dome of the Palomar Observatory in California and technical details about the laser and its information transmission charge.

The DSOC experiment will ship high-bandwidth check information to Earth throughout a two-year run, and is a part of NASA’s long-term plan to make use of lasers quite than radios to transmit info from area. This can allow wider bandwidths and due to this fact sooner information switch charges that may carry advanced scientific info and high-definition pictures and movies for future missions.

“DSOC is mostly a proof of idea which hopefully will make believers out of everyone that this may be executed,” says Biswas. The approach had already been used to ship information between the moon and Earth, however that could be a mere 384,400 kilometres. He says longer distances than the Taters check must be attainable in future.

One difficulty is making certain the laser gentle is exactly directed so it hits the receiving station. “It’s a really slim beam; on the distance that Psyche is correct now, it [is] only some hundred kilometres [wide by the time it reaches Earth],” says Biswas. “So should you mispoint it ever so barely, you’ll be within the Pacific Ocean or elsewhere. You’ll utterly miss. In order that was one thing there was lots of nervousness over.”

The video was transmitted at near-infrared wavelength by a laser transceiver and took 101 seconds to journey from the craft to Earth.

The 267-megabits-per-second message was obtained by tools on the Hale Telescope at Palomar, earlier than being transmitted over the web to JPL in southern California, the place the video was performed in actual time. That information charge makes DSOC sooner than most home broadband connections.


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