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Old 01-18-2013, 06:33 PM #1
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Default NASA uses laser to send image to the moon.

I thought this was rather interesting and wanted to share.

NASA beams Mona Lisa to moon with laser - CBS News

Quote:
The laser signal, fired from an installation in Maryland, beamed the Mona Lisa to the moon to be received 240,000 miles away by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been orbiting the moon since 2009. The Mona Lisa transmission, NASA scientists said, is a major advance in laser communication for interplanetary spacecraft.
Not much info on the laser itself, but I assume the divergence must be awesome!



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Old 01-18-2013, 06:45 PM #2
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Default Re: NASA uses laser to send image to the moon.

The bulk of NASA-related Laser activity and experimentation takes place at Goddard. I sure wish I could get a tour of their gear.
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:37 PM #3
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Default Re: NASA uses laser to send image to the moon.

I keep trying to find more details of what type of lasers they use and about the only thing I can find for certain is its green. I sure hope that area is a "no fly zone"!

NASA - NASA Goddard Shoots the Moon to Track LRO
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:02 PM #4
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Default Re: NASA uses laser to send image to the moon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcranmer View Post
I keep trying to find more details of what type of lasers they use and about the only thing I can find for certain is its green.
They tend to be closed-mouth on those government research projects.

It likely does not need to be as strong as one might think. The beam is modulated because it's transmitting data. And being at a specific frequency, the look-back receiver looks for light at the specific wavelength with the recognizable carrier modulation. Not unlike supermarket barcode scanners. 50W to 100W may be all we need to penetrate the atmosphere with enough remaining power to be seen from the moon. I suspect there is little loss of signal, once it leaves the debris field surrounding our planet, it being a vacuum from there to the moon.

I recall reading an article about:
Toorcamp: Hackerbot Labs? Giant FAA Approved Laser


but the article fails to discuss the ionization this 50W of 445nm caused. IIRC, it is a known phenomenon.

Edit: I was led to the Hackerbot Blog by this LPF post

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Old 01-18-2013, 09:41 PM #5
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Default Re: NASA uses laser to send image to the moon.

but that's 24 separate lasers, they are just pointing the same direction?

Does visible laser light have a benefit that radio transmission does not?

Let us think.

I'm thinking that the aperture won't need to be a giant radio dish, but a rather small hole, or perhaps a hole with a fancy moveable mirror.

Power requirements, anybody?

Wonder which is better at not being "messed with" by earth's atmosphere?

I was disappointed to see that rather than burning the image onto the moon's surface, they merely sent it in digital form to a spacecraft, but still very very cool!
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Old 01-19-2013, 11:38 AM #6
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Default Re: NASA uses laser to send image to the moon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcranmer View Post
I thought this was rather interesting and wanted to share.

NASA beams Mona Lisa to moon with laser - CBS News

300 bps........hmm, guess they had to start somewhere.
It will be interesting to see what the future of this technology holds!

edit: 12 mile dot at 240,000 miles....good divergence?

Last edited by Distillate; 01-19-2013 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:10 PM #7
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Default Re: NASA uses laser to send image to the moon.

Breaking news! Cloud cover breaks new wireless technology!
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