Nasa Sends Mona Lisa To The Moon Using Lasers (PHOTOS)

Nasa has beamed a copy of the Mona Lisa to the moon using a high-powered laser.

It was sent 240,000 miles, using a laser built to help space craft communicate more effectively over long distances.

The Next Generation Satellite Laser Ranging station in Maryland made the transmission, which had a data rate of about 300 bits per second - not fast by modern internet standards, but on the scale of planetary bodies, not bad.

The image was then sent back to Earth using radio waves.

Nasa said while the content of the message was not important, the transmission is a major step forwards for laser communications.

"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, 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 distant future, it may allow communication at higher data rates than present radio links can provide."