Earth has been struck by a laser from almost 10 million miles away, Nasa has confirmed.
The laser was beamed towards Earth by Nasa’s Psyche spacecraft.
The spacecraft is currently over 10 million miles (16 million kilometres) away from Earth.
The laser carried test data for more than 40 times the distance to the Moon.
The craft launched in October
Nasa hopes the new technology could enable astronauts on future missions to video call Earth from as far away as Mars.
The test was the first test of the Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) laser system.
It is the first time a laser has been used to send data from further than the Moon.
The Psyche spacecraft is currently completing a 2.2 billion-mile (3.6 billion-kilometre) trip to the asteroid 16 Psyche between Mars and Jupiter.
Nasa intends to establish a two-way laser communication system on the International Space Station.
Director of technology demonstrations at Nasa HQ Trudy Kortes said: ‘Achieving first light is one of many critical DSOC milestones in the coming months’.
“The test paves the way for higher-data-rate communications capable of sending scientific information, high-definition imagery, and streaming video in support of humanity’s next giant leap.'”
Operations lead for DSOC for Nasa’s jet propulsion laboratory Meera Srinivasan said that the test was: “the first to fully incorporate the ground assets and flight transceiver, requiring the DSOC and Psyche operations teams to work in tandem.
“‘It was a formidable challenge, and we have a lot more work to do, but for a short time, we were able to transmit, receive, and decode some data.”
Nasa’s new laser communications system can transfer more information per second, compared to radio signals.
The agency is also preparing to establish a two-way laser communication system on the International Space Station.
Earlier this month, Nasa sent a laser communication terminal to the ISS to test how high-rate lasers could be used in a low orbit.
The ultimate goal is to integrate lasers into the entire communications system to build a faster and more reliable network in space.
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