MIT Scientists Demonstrate Broadband Connection between Earth and Moon

Researchers have claimed that a data communication technology will soon enable large data transfers and high-definition video streaming between earth and moon. The researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory said the technology has high efficacy to establish such a connection between earth and moon.

Mark Stevens of MIT Lincoln Laboratory said that they will soon present both the implementation overview and how well the technology actually worked. There is no doubt that the task of communicating from earth to moon at high data rates with laser beams was cumbersome because of the 400,000-kilometer distance spreading out the light beam. It was even more difficult to go through the atmosphere because of the turbulence offered, which could bend light to cause rapid fading or dropouts of the signal at the receiver.

They used a plethora of techniques to ensure error-free performance over a wide range of optically challenging atmospheric conditions in both darkness and bright sunlight.

The stint of the researchers finally paid off when they successfully demonstrated a broadband wireless connection to the moon. "This will be the first time that we present both the implementation overview and how well it actually worked. The on-orbit performance was excellent and close to what we had predicted, giving us confidence that we have a good understanding of the underlying physics", explained Mark Stevens. The uplink signal was sent to the moon with the help of four separate telescopes in a ground terminal at White Sands, New Mexico.

Last year, the team made history when it transmitted data over the 384,633 km between the moon and earth at a download rate of 622 megabits per second by using Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD). It was faster than any radio frequency (RF) system. Also, they transmitted data from the earth to the moon at 19.44 megabits per second.