NASA has just launched a mission which will test communicating with space using lasers rather than radio waves.
This could revolutionise the way the agency communicates with future missions across the solar system, according to ANU astrophysicist and cosmologist Dr Brad Tucker.
“Lasers and radio waves are just light, they’re different types of light, they have different energies, and lasers have the ability to have a lot more energy, the more energy you have essentially, the more information you can carry,” he told Sky News Australia.
“So, radio waves when they’re broadcasting out into space, they spread, they disperse, laser beams can be a lot more controlled, constrained; therefore you can get higher speeds.”
Dr Tucker said the hope of using lasers instead of radio waves was to attain data speeds “hundreds of times faster”.
“The faster they are, the more data they can transfer, the more information they can transfer,” he said.
“That’s going to be the name of the game as missions to go to the moon, and as you said, beyond to get those speeds to transfer more data.”