Jade Rabbit, named after a lunar goddess in Chinese mythology, landed on the moon in December to new calls of Chinese greatness but has been hampered by bitterly cold lunar nights that have “weakened considerably” its ability to function. But finally, Jade Rabbit can get on WebMD to see what’s killing it slowly.
Distance, what distance?
While the moon remains a formidable 238,900 miles from the Earth, scientists have demonstrated that it’s possible to beam a wireless signal there without too much worry.
What’s scary is the fact that the signal is considerably stronger than the connection I’m using to write this and unless you work for Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) ( NASDAQ:GOOGL), probably stronger than the connection that you are reading this with today.
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The team that has demonstrated its work is comprised of researchers at MIT and NASA and will formerly present their work at the CLEO laser technology conference next month in California.
The scientists involved in the project used four separate telescopes in New Mexico to emit an uplink signal to satellite-mounted receiver that happens to be in a lunar orbit. The lasers transmitted the signal by beaming coded pulses of infrared light through the telescopes that average 6 inches in diameter.
Multiple beams sent to the moon
Due to the bending of the signal by the Earth’s atmosphere, the scientists were forced to use multiple telescopes in order to send the signal through different columns of air with dissimilar bending effects. By employing this process they were able to guarantee at least one of them made contact with the receiver on the orbiting satellite.
So, if you were planning a trip to the moon but were worried about being able to send “selfies” and watch the new season of “Orange is the New Black,” you’re good to go but make sure to ask for the password before your departure.