February 6, 2024 at 12:48 pm

NASA Streamed This 4K Cat Video From 19 Million Miles Away To Test Long Distance Space Communication

by Trisha Leigh

The internet has established that everyone – yes, everyone – in the entire world loves a good cat video.

Now, it’s pretty obvious that people love cat videos from space, too.

The video came from NASA’s spacecraft Psyche, which is on its way to check out a meal-rich asteroid between Mars and Jupiter – around 19 million miles away.

It’s 15-seconds in 4K, and features an orange tabby named Taters. In it, he’s chasing a red dot from laser pointer.

Source: NASA

Cuteness aside, NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy says it’s a remarkable technical achievement.

“This accomplishment underscores our commitment to advancing optical communications as a key element to meeting our future data transmission needs, how we communicate during future interplanetary missions.”

The craft’s laser transceiver took just 101 seconds to beam the message to the Hale Telescope at Caltech’s Palmar Observatory in California. From there, it went to NASA’s JPL.

At 267 megabits per second, it is much faster than previous deep space data transmissions.  That’s 10 to 100 times faster than other state-of-the-art radio frequency systems.

Source: NASA

JPL’s Ryan Rogalin had to brag on the achievement in a statement.

“Despite transmitting from millions of miles away, it was able to send the video faster than most broadband internet connections. In fact, after receiving the video at Palomar, it was sent to JPL over the internet, and that connection was slower than the signal coming from deep space.”

Of course, astrophysicists and others are always considering the impact on future missions, manned and otherwise, to Mars.

And this one definitely has things looking up.

If you enjoyed that story, check out what happened when a guy gave ChatGPT $100 to make as money as possible, and it turned out exactly how you would expect.