First Video Sent by Laser From Deep Space Features Orange Tabby Cat Named Taters Stealing the Show

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — An orange tabby cat named Taters stars in the first video transmitted by laser from deep space, stealing the show as he chases a red laser light.

The 15-second video was beamed to Earth from NASA’s Psyche spacecraft, 19 million miles (30 million kilometers) away. It took less than two minutes for the ultra high-definition video to reach Caltech’s Palomar Observatory, sent at the test system’s maximum rate of 267 megabits per second.

The video was loaded into Psyche’s laser communication experiment before the spacecraft blasted off to a rare metal asteroid in October. The mission team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, decided to feature an employee’s 3-year-old playful kitty.

The video was streamed to Earth on Dec. 11 and released by NASA this week. Despite the vast distance, the test relayed the video faster than most broadband internet connections here on Earth, said the project’s Ryan Rogalin.

NASA wants to improve communications from deep space, especially as astronauts gear up to return to the moon with an eye toward Mars. The laser demo is meant to transmit data at rates up to 100 times greater than the radio systems currently used by spacecraft far from Earth.

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More test transmissions are planned as Psyche heads toward the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. But Taters won’t be making anymore appearances, according to JPL.

Joby Harris, an art director in JPL’s DesignLab, couldn’t be prouder, but doesn’t want his cat’s newfound celebrity to go to his head.

“I’m celebrating his spotlight with him, but making sure he keeps his paws on the carpet,” Harris said in an email Tuesday.

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — An orange tabby cat named Taters stars in the first video transmitted by laser from deep space, stealing the show as he chases a red laser light.

The 15-second video was beamed to Earth from NASA’s Psyche spacecraft, 19 million miles (30 million kilometers) away. It took less than two minutes for the ultra high-definition video to reach Caltech’s Palomar Observatory, sent at the test system’s maximum rate of 267 megabits per second.

The video was loaded into Psyche’s laser communication experiment before the spacecraft blasted off to a rare metal asteroid in October. The mission team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, decided to feature an employee’s 3-year-old playful kitty.

The video was streamed to Earth on Dec. 11 and released by NASA this week. Despite the vast distance, the test relayed the video faster than most broadband internet connections here on Earth, said the project’s Ryan Rogalin.

NASA wants to improve communications from deep space, especially as astronauts gear up to return to the moon with an eye toward Mars. The laser demo is meant to transmit data at rates up to 100 times greater than the radio systems currently used by spacecraft far from Earth.

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More test transmissions are planned as Psyche heads toward the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. But Taters won’t be making anymore appearances, according to JPL.

Joby Harris, an art director in JPL’s DesignLab, couldn’t be prouder, but doesn’t want his cat’s newfound celebrity to go to his head.

“I’m celebrating his spotlight with him, but making sure he keeps his paws on the carpet,” Harris said in an email Tuesday.

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

In a groundbreaking achievement, an orange tabby cat named Taters has become the star of the first-ever video transmitted by laser from deep space. The 15-second video was beamed to Earth from NASA’s Psyche spacecraft, which is located 19 million miles away. The video, featuring Taters chasing a red laser light, was streamed to Earth on December 11 and released by NASA this week.

This achievement is part of NASA’s efforts to improve communication from deep space, particularly as they prepare for future missions to the moon and Mars. The laser communication experiment on the Psyche spacecraft aims to transmit data at rates up to 100 times faster than current radio systems used by spacecraft far from Earth.

The video transmission was completed within two minutes, faster than most broadband internet connections on Earth. The successful test paves the way for further advancements in deep space communication.

While Taters stole the show in this first video transmission, he won’t be making any more appearances in future transmissions. Joby Harris, an art director at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, expressed pride in his cat’s newfound celebrity but also wants to ensure that Taters remains grounded.

This achievement marks a significant milestone in space communication technology and opens up new possibilities for transmitting data from deep space. NASA plans to conduct more test transmissions as the Psyche spacecraft continues its journey towards the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

It is important to note that the Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The Associated Press is solely responsible for all content.

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