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Nasa Sends Data To The Moon At 42 Times Average UK Broadband Speed

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Nasa has sent data to and back from the Moon at 42 times the average speed of UK broadband connections.

The space agency used its laser-based system to send back data from the Moon at more than 622 megabits per second (Mb/s). The average broadband speed in UK homes is about 14/7 Mb/s, and while (obviously) no direct comparison is possible, it's an interesting illustration of the speeds we're talking about.

Nasa's laser is able to send a laser directly from its ground station in New Mexico to a space craft in orbit around the Moon about 239,000 miles away.

The test, which also included a successful data upload to the LADEE spacecraft at a comparative crawl of 20Mb/s, was held as part of the Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration.

"LLCD is the first step on our roadmap toward building the next generation of space communication capability," said Badri Younes, Nasa's deputy associate administrator for space communications and navigation.

"We are encouraged by the results of the demonstration to this point, and we are confident we are on the right path to introduce this new capability into operational service soon."

A longer version of a similar test is due to take place as part of the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration, a next-generation system whose key parts won't launch until 2017.