In its first test of laser communications at planetary distances, NASA has sent a digital image to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), a satellite that has been orbiting the Moon since June of 2009. Their subject? Leonardo da Vinci's famous painting, the Mona Lisa.
"Because LRO is already set up to receive laser signals through the [Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter] instrument, we had a unique opportunity to demonstrate one-way laser communication with a distant satellite," said Xiaoli Sun, in a NASA statement today. Sun is part of the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) group at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and lead author of the Optics Express paper published today.
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Check out this cool video that shows how it was done:
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