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NASA Transmits Laser From Orbiter to Indian Lunar Lander

Laser experiment

NASA Transmits Laser From Orbiter to Indian Lunar Lander

NASA has transmitted a laser beam from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to India’s Vikram lander located on the lunar surface.

On Dec. 12, the orbiter pointed its laser altimeter toward Vikram, located near the Manzinus crater on the moon’s South Pole. The laser was received by NASA’s Laser Retroreflector Array aboard Vikram after traveling around 62 miles from the orbiter to the lander.

The exercise is a reverse application of the common practice of using lasers from a stationary location on Earth to track how far an object in space is. The experiment opens the path to new precision location techniques, including those that could help Artemis astronauts navigate through the dark side of the moon, NASA said Thursday.

The space agency has been testing new laser data uplinks in recent months, sending signals farther than the moon.

In December, NASA used laser-based links to send a 15-second ultra-high-definition video from Earth to a Deep Space Optical Communications laser transceiver installed on the Psyche spacecraft located some 19 million miles away. Scientists sent the laser from Earth, which was received by the transceiver and sent back to the Hale Telescope at the transceiver’s maximum rate.

NASA sent and received lasers beyond the moon under the DSOC experiment for the first time in November.

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Category: Space

Tags: laser experiment Laser Retroreflector Array Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter NASA space Vikram lunar lander