NASA sent the first-ever cat video from deep space to Earth using laser technology as an experiment for Deep Space Optimal Communications. It beamed ultra-high-quality video of a cat named Taters back to Earth from nearly 19 million miles away.
This cat video was 15 seconds which NASA sent back to Earth from deep space. NASA hopes that one day it will be able to send very high-bandwidth video and other data from deep space.
What does the video show?
Taters the cat was in a 15-second video clip that shows the cat pursuing a laser beam (red dot). Taters is an orange tabby whose video flew 19 million miles roughly 80 times the distance between Earth and Moon. A NASA employee at California’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) owned Taters.
NASA believes the laser technology it was testing may improve communications. Especially with using more remote parts of the solar system in the future.
The cat video was sent to a spacecraft launched on October 13, 2023. It used SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. NASA webcasted it on December 11, 2023.
JPL electronics lead Ryan Rogalin said it was able to send the video faster than most broadband internet connections despite transmitting from millions of miles away. Hale telescope at Palomar Observatory received and downloaded the video.
It then streamed to the JPL and played in real-time there. According to Ryan, the connection used to send the video was slower than the signal used to send the footage from the orbit.
He went on to say that the design lab of JPL did an outstanding job in assisting us in showcasing this technology. Everyone adores Taters.
This video was a test as part of the Deep Space Optical Commission (DSOC) program. DSOC is investigating what technologies can transport higher bandwidth information from deep space to Earth.
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