A cat in the first streaming video from deep space – Space and astronomy – Ansa.it


A cat playing on the sofa and chasing the red light of a laser pointer is the protagonist of the first very high-definition video broadcast from deep space, sent to Earth from a record distance of 31 million kilometers (80 times the Earth-Moon distance). part of laser communications tests conducted by NASA with the Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) experiment aboard the Psyche mission launched in October and headed for a metallic asteroid.

The goal is to demonstrate the possibility of transmitting large amounts of data from deep space at speeds up to 100 times faster than radio frequency systems in use today, revolutionizing space communications in preparation for a Mars landing.

A 15-second test video, recorded before launch, was sent at a speed of 267 megabits per second from the laser transceiver aboard the Psyche spacecraft: the signal took 101 seconds to reach Earth and was received by the Hale telescope on Mount Palomar. Observatory in San Diego County, United States. Each frame of the video was then sent live to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, where the video was played back in real time.

The video shows a tabby cat named Taters (owned by a NASA JPL employee) chasing a laser pointer. Overlaid on the video were graphics showing various features of the technology demo, such as the Psyche mission’s orbital path, the Palomar telescope dome responsible for receiving video and other technical information about the laser, and the data transfer rate. . The color, breed and heart rate of the Tater cat are also listed.

“Despite being transmitted from millions of miles away, it was able to send video faster than most broadband Internet connections,” says Ryan Rogalin, receiver project electronics manager at JPL. “In fact, after receiving the video at Palomar, it was sent to JPL over the Internet, and the connection was slower than the signal coming from deep space.”

The choice to send a video with a cat was not accidental: NASA engineers did not just want to ride on the popularity of cats on social networks, but wanted to make a clear reference to another historical cat, Felix The Cat, whose figure was used as a test image for the first television broadcast in the United States in 1928.

Reproduction reserved © Copyright ANSA


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