First cat video streaming from space – The Post

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Taters is a tabby cat with orange fur who is the protagonist of the video, which is historical in its own way, although it is not very different from the cats that are commonly seen and shared online. His video was actually the first to be transmitted in high definition from deep space (that is, at a very long distance) and covered a distance of 31 million kilometers. For those who are afraid: Taters have always stayed here on Earth, but an experiment conducted by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has shown important new possibilities for transmitting more data over long distances, an important result for future long-distance exploration of our planet.

The experiment took place thanks to the Psyche space probe, which was launched in mid-October and whose primary mission is to study asteroids composed almost entirely of metals found between Mars and Jupiter. The first test was carried out in November, when the probe sent a signal when it was 16 million kilometers away from Earth, but it was mostly randomly generated data sets, without the participation of cats.

The new demonstration test instead used a Tater video to better verify the functionality of the system and to pique the curiosity of non-industry people. The transmission from Psyche was via a “flight laser transceiver”, an instrument that uses laser pulses to send data through the space environment. The signal was received on Earth by the Hale Telescope at the Mount Palomar Observatory in California.

It took 101 seconds to send the video (which was done before the probe left) from Psyche to Earth at a speed of 267 megabits per second (Mbps), a remarkable result considering that often terrestrial connections, such as for Internet navigation, are more important. slower. As Ryan Rogalin, the person in charge of the scientific part of the project, recalled: “Although the transmission took place millions of kilometers away, it was possible to send the video at a speed higher than a broadband Internet connection”. The video was then sent from Mount Palomar to JPL headquarters via an Internet connection that was slower than that between Psyche and Earth.


The video shows tattoo artists on a pillow playing around trying to catch a dot of light generated by a laser pointer, referring to the type of test that NASA has done with the laser.

In addition to the enjoyment of tattoo artists, the test demonstrated the potential of new laser data transmission systems for interplanetary big data communication. Advances in this sector could make data transmission more practical and faster not only from space probes, but also in future missions involving humans.

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