MessageToEagle.com

NASA Beamed An Image Of Mona Lisa To The Moon

19 January, 2013

Share this story:
Follow us:

MessageToEagle.com - Scientists with NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) - the only satellite in orbit around a body other than Earth to be tracked by laser - beamed an image of the Mona Lisa to the spacecraft from Earth.

The image traveled nearly 240,000 miles in digital form from the Next Generation Satellite Laser Ranging (NGSLR) station at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., to the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) instrument on the spacecraft.

By transmitting the image piggyback on laser pulses that are routinely sent to track LOLA's position, the team achieved simultaneous laser communication and tracking.



Click on image to enlarge

To clean up transmission errors introduced by Earth's atmosphere (left), Goddard scientists applied Reed-Solomon error correction (right), which is commonly used in CDs and DVDs. Typical errors include missing pixels (white) and false signals (black). The white stripe indicates a brief period when transmission was paused. Image courtesy: Xiaoli Sun, NASA Goddard


"This is the first time anyone has achieved one-way laser communication at planetary distances," says LOLA's principal investigator, David Smith of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"In the near future, this type of simple laser communication might serve as a backup for the radio communication that satellites use. In the more distant future, it may allow communication at higher data rates than present radio links can provide."


NASA Goddard scientists transmitted an image of the Mona Lisa from Earth to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter at the moon by piggybacking on laser pulses that routinely track the spacecraft. Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


"Because LRO is already set up to receive laser signals through the LOLA instrument, we had a unique opportunity to demonstrate one-way laser communication with a distant satellite," says Xiaoli Sun, a LOLA scientist at NASA Goddard and lead author of the Optics Express paper, posted online today, that describes the work.

Precise timing was the key to transmitting the image. Sun and colleagues divided the Mona Lisa image into an array of 152 pixels by 200 pixels. Every pixel was converted into a shade of gray, represented by a number between zero and 4,095.

Each pixel was transmitted by a laser pulse, with the pulse being fired in one of 4,096 possible time slots during a brief time window allotted for laser tracking. The complete image was transmitted at a data rate of about 300 bits per second.



The laser pulses were received by LRO's LOLA instrument, which reconstructed the image based on the arrival times of the laser pulses from Earth. This was accomplished without interfering with LOLA's primary task of mapping the moon's elevation and terrain and NGSLR's primary task of tracking LRO.



The success of the laser transmission was verified by returning the image to Earth using the spacecraft's radio telemetry system.



Turbulence in Earth's atmosphere introduced transmission errors even when the sky was clear. To overcome these effects, Sun and colleagues employed Reed-Solomon coding, which is the same type of error-correction code commonly used in CDs and DVDs.

The experiments also provided statistics on the signal fluctuations due to Earth's atmosphere.

"This pathfinding achievement sets the stage for the Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration (LLCD), a high data rate laser-communication demonstrations that will be a central feature of NASA's next moon mission, the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE)," says Goddard's Richard Vondrak, the LRO deputy project scientist.

MessageToEagle.com

See also:
Researchers Have Identified The First "Bone" Of The Milky Way

Follow MessageToEagle.com for the latest news on Facebook and Twitter !

Don't Miss Our Stories! Get Our Daily Email Newsletter

Enter your email address:


Once you have confirmed your email address, you will be subscribed to the newsletter.

Recommend this article:

Teleportation Experiments Continue - Record-Breaking Distance of 143 Kilometers Achieved!

Violent Behavior Of Our Sun - Massive 500,000 Mile Long Filament Observed

First Massive Galaxies Lit Up The Early Universe

Intense Blue Lightning On Saturn Visible From Space In Broad Daylight!

Subscribe To Our Space, Astronomy, Astrophysics, Earth and Xenology News!

Grab the latest RSS feeds right to your reader, desktop or mobile phone.

Subscribe to RSS headline updates from:
Powered by FeedBurner

Go to - MAIN PAGE

Copyright © MessageToEagle.com All rights reserved.
Go to - MAIN PAGE


Get our top stories
Follow MessageToEagle.com

 Subscribe in a reader

Join Us On Facebook!

Other Popular Articles

Universe:


Juno Spacecraft's Critical Mission - To Uncover The Secrets Hidden Beneath Jupiter's Mysterious Clouds

What’s Going On Out There? - NASA's RBSP Spacecraft Will Meet ‘Killer Electrons’ And Other Dangerous Phenomena

New Photos Of Saturn And Its Moon Titan - See A Striking Change Of Colors!

Beautiful and Mysterious Superbubble In The Large Magellanic Cloud Observed By Chandra

WISE Discovers Millions Of Black Holes And 1,000 Extreme Galaxies Called Hot DOGS

Dawn Spacecraft Is Heading Towards Dwarf Planet Ceres To Investigate The Formation Of Our Solar System

Lunar Paradox Problem: Moon Origin In Focus Again!

There Is Sugar In That Star! Life Building Blocks Discovered Around A Sun-Like Star

First Planetary System Orbiting Two Suns Found By Kepler

Astronomers Test Einstein In A New Regime Using Pair of Burnt-Out Stars

The Universe Will Vanish In 100 Billion Years - Says Nobel Prize Winner Brian P. Schmidt

Our Creator Is A Cosmic Computer Programmer - Says JPL Scientist

Mysterious, Huge 'Pigtail' Molecular Cloud Discovered In The Galactic Center

Astronomers See The Infant Universe's Oldest Galaxies Yet!

Star With The Secret Of Eternal Youth

Physicists Challenge Validity Of Big Bang Theory

Space-Time Crystal Computer That Can Outlive Even The Universe Itself!

Dawn Spacecraft Is Heading Towards Dwarf Planet Ceres To Investigate The Formation Of Our Solar System

New Photos Of Saturn And Its Moon Titan - See A Striking Change Of Colors!

What’s Going On Out There? - NASA's RBSP Spacecraft Will Meet ‘Killer Electrons’ And Other Dangerous Phenomena

Mysterious X-Rays From Jupiter Near The Poles

W3Counter