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NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory News and Features

Deep Space Communications via Faraway Photons

18 Oct 2017, 19:10 UTC
Deep Space Communications via Faraway Photons SSL/ASU/P. Rubin/NASA/JPL-Caltech

A spacecraft destined to explore a unique asteroid will also test new communication hardware that uses lasers instead of radio waves.

The Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) package aboard NASA's Psyche mission utilizes photons -- the fundamental particle of visible light -- to transmit more data in a given amount of time. The DSOC goal is to increase spacecraft communications performance and efficiency by 10 to 100 times over conventional means, all without increasing the mission burden in mass, volume, power and/or spectrum.

Tapping the advantages offered by laser communications is expected to revolutionize future space endeavors - a major objective of NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD).

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