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NASA sends the Mona Lisa to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter with lasers

Donald Melanson, @donmelanson
January 18, 2013
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NASA is no stranger to shooting lasers at spacecraft orbiting the moon (seriously), but it's now moving beyond "basic" tasks like tracking their location. The space agency announced yesterday that it has successfully demonstrated one-way laser communication with a satellite orbiting the moon for the first time. For that milestone, NASA chose to send an image of the Mona Lisa, which was transmitted to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in a series of laser pulses beamed from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Not surprisingly, that means of communication introduced its share of challenges, including interference from turbulence in the Earth's atmosphere. To compensate for that, NASA used what's known as Reed-Solomon coding to reconstruct the image (pictured after the break), which is the same process used for error correction in CDs and DVDs. You can find more details from NASA, and a video explaining the whole process, at the source link below.

[Image credit: NASA, Tom Zagwodzki/Goddard Space Flight Center]

NASA sends the Mona Lisa to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter with lasers

In this article: laser, lro, lunar, monalisa, moon, nasa
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