NASA recently achieved a significant milestone in space cat communications by successfully beaming an ultra-high definition (UHD) video across 19 million miles from its Psyche spacecraft to Earth using laser technology. This marks the first instance of streaming a UHD video from deep space via laser. The transmitted video, lasting 15 seconds, featured an orange cat named Taters chasing a laser dot. This achievement showcases the potential of advanced laser communications for high-quality data transfer over vast interplanetary distances.
The video signal, transmitted on December 11, reached Earth in 101 seconds from Psyche’s location, approximately 80 times the distance between Earth and the moon. It was transmitted prior to the mission launch and relayed back to Earth via a flight laser transceiver aboard Psyche at a speed of 267Mbps. Launched in October, the spacecraft is en route to investigate a metal-rich asteroid situated in the primary asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
“Despite originating from millions of miles away, the video signal outpaced the speed of most broadband internet connections,” noted Ryan Rogalin, the project’s receiver electronics lead at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. “Remarkably, after receiving the video at Palomar, the subsequent transfer to JPL over the internet proved slower than the signal originating from deep space cat.”