NASA Beams Ultra High-Definition Video of Taters the Cat to Earth

Feline fun captured in stunning detail and beamed back to Earth.

NASA Beams Ultra High-Definition Video of Taters the Cat to Earth | Feline fun captured in stunning detail and beamed back to Earth.

A cat named Taters is featured in a high-definition video that was shot back to Earth from NASA's Psyche mission by a laser communications experiment that is approximately 19 million miles (31 million kilometers) away. This is the first time NASA has used a laser to relay a video from outer space, CNN reports. 

Transmitting from deep space
The joyful orange tabby cat named Taters is shown in an ultra-high definition movie chasing — of all things — an elusive red dot with a laser pointer as it glides across a couch. A flight laser transceiver used in the Deep Space Optical Communications project, or DSOC, sent the cat footage to Earth. 

“This accomplishment underscores our commitment to advancing optical communications as a key element to meeting our future data transmission needs,” CNN quoted a statement by NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy, who added, “Increasing our bandwidth is essential to achieving our future exploration and science goals, and we look forward to the continued advancement of this technology and the transformation of how we communicate during future interplanetary missions.”

Everyone loves Taters the cat
According to The Washington Post, NASA stated that the innovation has the potential to revolutionize spacecraft communication on interplanetary trips and is currently being readied for use by the upcoming moon landing astronauts. It would enable high-speed transmission of broadband video, scientific data, and high-definition pictures home from locations far beyond the moon.

“What we’ve done is taken this technology that’s been used in satellites orbiting near-Earth and around the moon … and extended that range out to deep space. This demonstration we just did … is really showing the ability of the technology,” Malcolm Wright, flight laser lead at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.  told the Washington Post. 

“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. JPL’s DesignLab did an amazing job helping us showcase this technology — everyone loves Taters.” CNN quoted a statement by Ryan Rogalin, DSOC receiver electronics lead at JPL.

As the ultra high-definition video of Taters makes its way back to Earth, NASA invites viewers of all ages to watch the footage, which is a testament to the agency's commitment not only to scientific exploration but also to sharing the wonders of the universe in a way that resonates with the public's sense of awe and humor. In the vast expanse of space, where scientific discovery often takes center stage, NASA's decision to beam ultra high-definition video footage of Taters back to Earth introduces a delightful and charming element to the cosmos.  

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