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China’s Satellite ‘Micius’ Makes Breakthrough In Quantum Communication

First Posted: Jun 19, 2017 06:38 AM EDT
China Quantum Satellite
A Chinese quantum satellite recently made a breakthrough in secure communications.
(Photo : CGTN/YouTube screenshot)

China had launched the world’s first hack proof quantum satellite, called Micius, last year to create a system of communications between space and Earth. Now, the quantum satellite has reportedly sent transmissions over 1,200 kilometers (746 miles), covering more distance than earlier records. According to China, this a breakthrough in technology that can be used to send secure messages.

BBC reported the feat is a doorway to bright prospects for quantum communications and that the term spy satellite gets a new meaning with the spacecraft’s successful test. The mission can help in providing unbreakable secret communications channels with the help of the laws of quantum science. This will help in the development of a new type of internet that would be far more secure than the present one.

The team of Chinese researchers from Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS) used the phenomenon of quantum entanglement. According to it, a particle can impact a far-off twin instantly and overcome the great distance that separates them. In fact, Albert Einstein had described such a situation as spooky action at a distance.

Incidentally, the scientists successfully spread out entangled photon pairs over 1,200 km, breaking the record of 100 kilometers (62 miles) at which entanglement had been achieved previously. Lead scientist Jian-Wei Pan added that the encrypted messages technology so far is “the only way to establish secure keys between two distant locations on earth without relying on trustful relay.” According to Hindustan Times, the journal Science wrote that the new development shows the possibility of a global quantum communication network in the future.

Incidentally, China has been working steadily on its space program, citing defense and national security and has also added that its space program is for peaceful purposes. The Pentagon has said that the launch of the first experimental quantum satellite by China is a notable advance in cryptography research.

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