Nasa has now tested streaming video in HD format from Psyche, the spacecraft that left Earth in October and is expected to reach Psyche 16, the metal asteroid about 600 million kilometers from Earth, in 2029.
The transmission from Psyche was conducted using a laser system for communication that Nasa calls Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC). During the test, a 15-second video clip of the cat Tater, which had been uploaded to Psyche before the spacecraft left Earth, was sent. At the time of the test, Psyche was about 31 million kilometers from Earth, eighty times the distance between the moon and Earth. The video signal from Psyche took 101 seconds to reach Earth, and at the highest transfer rate, data was transmitted at a speed of 267 Mbps.
The idea behind DSOC, and other laser-based communication systems, is to be able to send data at a speed that is 10 to 100 times higher than what is possible with today’s radio-based systems for space communication. Below you can check out the video clip that Nasa streamed from Psyche to Earth.