Mona Lisa Sent to Outer Space via Laser
Feat represents a major advancement in laser communication
By Mark Russell, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2013 10:14 AM CST
A painting attributed to Leonardo da Vinci representing Mona Lisa, is displayed during a presentation in Geneva, Switzerland, Sept. 27, 2012.   (AP Photo/Keystone, Yannick Bailly)

(Newser) – Outer space just got a little more cultured. NASA scientists have successfully beamed an image of the Mona Lisa to its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter using a special laser signal, a feat that represents a major leap in laser communication technology, Space.com reports. "This is the first time anyone has achieved one-way laser communication at planetary distances," one researcher said in a statement.

Soon, laser communiqués like this one could serve as backup for traditional radio communication; someday, they could trump radio by transmitting data at higher rates, the researcher said. For the test, NASA broke the Mona Lisa into 150- by 200-pixel sections and beamed them up via laser at about 300 bits per second. The satellite then reassembled the image, applied a pixel-correction method, and sent it back to earth via radio waves. Sure enough, the image transferred correctly.

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Showing 3 of 5 comments
livlincoln
Feb 8, 2013 11:24 PM CST
Great news made me happy, now I'm even more grateful for NASA than ever.i always believed that the woman behind the painting"MONA" liked it how many lives were on the payroll money made out her simple portrait and how many more will be every year for centuries now, movies, books, galleries even this website...etc.but only NASA rewarded her and showed to all out there that AMERICA KNOWS BEST. good for you MONA and congrats!
JoeNobody
Jan 21, 2013 5:54 PM CST
Why didnt she take Michelle Bachmann with her?
HMD-SMD-ITY
Jan 19, 2013 12:00 AM CST
Aldrin and Armstrong left corner-cube reflectors on the moon more than 40 years ago for laser research. Scientists have modulated signals from those mirrors ever since then. They most frequent use is to accurately gauge the distance between the Earth and Moon. It proves that the moon is moving farther away each year. To add to that, ham operators have been moon bouncing as long as UHF has been in existence. You aim what is called a Moonrake antenna array at the moon and then transmit a call. It goes out, bounces, and returns back somewhere else on Earth. Someone hears it and bounces a return message. You did this without a satellite being involved. As for the laser project, the US government just de-funded it this year. You can find out the coordinates of the mirror and try it yourself if you have a laser capable of the beam width and power.