In a test, the spacecraft has beamed data via laser at a speed reaching 622 megabits per second to earth!

"It worked like gangbusters," Don Boroson, who led the 'Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration' (LLCD) design team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory, was quoted as saying.

NASA and MIT engineers tested the two-way laser link between the moon and the earth for about a month. The team feels this paves the way for 3D video and remote robotic exploration of other moons and planets.

This laser technology can also allow humans to remotely control robots for asteroid mining missions. LLCD would begin operations shortly after arrival into lunar orbit and continue for 30 days afterward.

LLCD's main objective is to transmit hundreds of millions of bits of data per second from the moon to earth. This is like transmitting over 100 HD television channels simultaneously, said a report.

NASA's follow up Laser Communication Relay Demonstration (LCRD) scheduled for launch in 2017 would attempt to establish laser links at a rate of over 1 gigabit per second between earth and a satellite in geosynchronous orbit, which is 10 times closer than the moon.

The LCRD would operate for five years in order to demonstrate the reliability of laser communication technology.


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