Cape Canaveral, Fla. – An orange tabby cat named Taters steals the show as he chases the stars, a red laser beam, in the first video sent by a laser from deep space.
15 second video Beamed to Earth from NASA’s Psyche spacecraft 19 million miles (30 million kilometers) away. The ultra-high-definition video took less than two minutes to reach Caltech’s Palomar Laboratory, transmitted at the test system’s maximum rate of 267 megabits per second.
The video was uploaded to Psyche’s laser communication experiment before the spacecraft blasted into a rare metal asteroid in October. A crew at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California decided to show off an employee’s playful 3-year-old kitten.
The video was streamed to Earth on December 11 and released by NASA this week. Despite the great distance, the experiment transmitted video faster than most broadband Internet connections on Earth, said the project’s Ryan Roglin.
NASA wants to improve communications from deep space, especially as astronauts prepare to return to the Moon toward Mars. The laser demo is intended to transmit data at a rate 100 times faster than radio systems currently used by spacecraft far from Earth.
More test exchanges are planned as Psyche heads toward the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. But according to JBL, Daters will no longer appear.
Joby Harris, art director at JBL’s DesignLab, couldn’t be prouder, but he doesn’t want his cat’s new popularity to go to his head.
“I celebrate his attention with him, but make sure he keeps his feet on the carpet,” Harris said in an email Tuesday.