NASA sends Mona Lisa to the moon with lasers

When Mona met LOLA: The corrected image was beamed to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

(Credit: NASA)

I love it when engineers show off.

NASA scientists, having apparently nothing better to do, have shot an image of the Mona Lisa to the moon by piggybacking it on laser pulses. Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece was successfully received by an instrument aboard the agency’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) some 240,000 miles away.

“This is the first time anyone has achieved one-way laser communication at planetary distances,” MIT’s David Smith, head of the spacecraft’s Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA), said in a 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.”

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