NASANASA has set a new record for data transmission to and from the moon with a 622Mbps transfer carried over laser beams. The space agency used pulsed lasers to transmit data between a ground station in New Mexico and a spacecraft 239,000 miles away during its recent Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration. The agency was also able to upload error-free data to the LADEE spacecraft — the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer currently orbiting Earth’s moon — at a rate of 20Mbps. Earlier this year, NASA shot the Mona Lisa into space on a laser beam, but only managed to achieve a rate of 300 bits per second in the process. The success of the LLCD — a mission outlined in September — is “the first step in our roadmap toward building the next generation of space communication capability,” according to NASA’s Badri Younes.

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