Next time you attempt to switch to a higher speed broadband provider and they tell you that the service is ‘unavailable in your area’, perhaps you could direct them to this story – scientists have managed to create a Wi-Fi connection on the moon.
Researchers from NASA and MIT have managed to beam a wireless Internet signal 238,900 miles to the surface of the Earth’s moon. If you were to step off of your shuttle tomorrow and touch down onto the moon’s surface, you would theoretically receive a connection as good as any on Earth. Seriously – the connection is genuinely up to Earth standards. You could stream video at a slightly lower-than-average 19.44 megabits per second, or download information at an astronomical (hah!) 622 megabits per second.
In case you were wondering how it all works… you’re asking the wrong source. But essentially, the way it works is via four telescopes in New Mexico, a satellite orbiting the moon and a laser transmitter. The telescopes are fed information in the form of pulsing infrared laser beams; they then send an uplink signal to a receiver on the satellite, which then provides an internet signal to the surface.
The scientists will present their findings, and no doubt explain the process a lot better than we could ever hope to, at a conference in California on June 9th.