In a historic achievement, beamed a UHD video across 19 million miles from its Psyche spacecraft to Earth earlier this month. This marks the first time a UHD video has been sent from deep space via laser. The video featured a 15-second clip of an orange cat named Taters chasing a laser dot. The signal, sent on December 11, reached Earth in 101 seconds from Psyche’s location, which was approximately 80 times farther than the distance between Earth and the moon. The video was uploaded before the mission launched and was transmitted back to Earth by a flight laser transceiver aboard Psyche at a rate of 267Mbps. The spacecraft is currently en route to study a metal-rich asteroid in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
According to Ryan Rogalin, the receiver electronics lead for the project at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, “Despite transmitting from millions of miles away, it was able to send the video faster than most broadband internet connections. In fact, after receiving the video at Palomar, it was sent to JPL over the internet, and that connection was slower than the signal coming from deep space.”