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Not Happy With Your Internet Speeds? Just Move To Moon

Update Date: May 29, 2014 10:04 AM EDT
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The idea sounds crazy but researchers have recently beamed Wi-Fi on the moon for the first time and the connection is faster than the United States' national average. 

Researchers at MIT and NASA demonstrated the data communication technology that makes it possible to receive large amounts of data at a speed of just under 20 megabits per second from the moon to Earth and vice versa. 

Researchers achieved a download speed of 19.44 mbps through a laser-powered communication uplink through RF signals and an upload sped of 622 mbps, 4,800 times faster than previous record. 

This download speed is more than six times faster than the download speed achieved by the best radio system ever flown to the moon, and the Nasa's Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) laser space terminal is half the weight and uses 25% less power than the radio system, TOI reported. 

To make this feat possible, scientists used four separate telescopes based in New Mexico to send an uplink signal to a receiver mounted on a satellite orbiting the moon. The telescopes are about 6 inches in diameter and are fed by laser transmitter that beams information in coded pulses of infrared light. 

Since our atmosphere bends the signal as it travels to the moon, the four telescopes transmit the light through different columns of air, each with different bending effects. This setup increases the chance that at least one of the laser beams will interact with the receiver, and establish a connection with the moon, wrote Discover.

"This will be the first time that we present both the implementation overview and how well it actually worked," said Mark Stevens of MIT Lincoln Laboratory, in the press release. "The on-orbit performance was excellent and close to what we'd predicted, giving us confidence that we have a good understanding of the underlying physics," he added.

Researchers will present their findings June 9 at the CELO laser technology conference in California. 

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