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NASA uses laser to beam Mona Lisa to the moon


In the future, NASA hopes all interplanetary communication will be conducted through lasers
In the future, NASA hopes all interplanetary communication will be conducted through lasers

Cheryl Santa Maria, staff writer

January 20, 2013 — Move over, man on the moon. NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has sent a digitized image of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa into space with the help of a laser.

The experiment marks the first time anyone has achieved one-way laser communication at planetary distance
The experiment marks the first time anyone has achieved one-way laser communication at planetary distance

The Mona Lisa took a trip to the moon recently, courtesy of NASA.

Last week, earth-bound NASA scientists beamed a digitized version of the famous painting 240,000 miles to a satellite orbiting the moon.

According to the space agency, this is the first time lasers have been used to communicate between cosmic bodies.

The traditional mode of communication has been radio waves, but NASA is hoping to change that.

"This is the first time anyone has achieved one-way laser communication at planetary distances," David Smith, a principal investigator on the project, in a press release.

"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."

Now -- scientists are back at the drawing board, developing new ways to fine tune the laser technology.

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