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Mona Lisa Goes To Moon As NASA Laser Carries Image To Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (Huffington post)

By: Miriam Kramer

Published: 01/18/2013 05:41 AM EST on SPACE.com

Call it the ultimate in high art: Using a well-timed laser, NASA scientists
have beamed a picture of Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, to a
powerful spacecraft orbiting the moon, marking a first in laser communication.

The laser signal, fired from an installation in Maryland, beamed the Mona Lisa
to the moon to be received 240,000 miles (384,400 km) away by NASA’s Lunar
Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been orbiting the moon since 2009. The Mona
Lisa transmission, NASA scientists said, is a major advance in laser
communication for interplanetary spacecraft.

“This is the first time anyone has achieved one-way laser communication at
planetary distances,” David Smith, a researcher working with the LRO’s Lunar
Orbiter Laser Altimeter — which received the Mona Lisa message — said in a
statement. “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
distance future, it may allow communication at higher data rates than present
radio links can provide.”

The LRO spacecraft was the prime choice to test out the novel communication
method because the spacecraft …

Huffington post

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