Quantum internet promises ultra-secure, next-generation communications, but is it truly feasible on a global scale
Absolutely, according to a new experiment conducted between satellites in orbit and a station on the ground. ]
The team of scientists was able to exchange several carefully managed photons in pulses of infrared light, carried between Russian GLONASS satellites and the Space Geodesy Center on the ground run by the Italian Space Agency. (20,000 kilometers) of air and space without any interference or data loss is no easy task – but the signs are promising that such a global network might indeed be functional
"Space quantum communications (QC) represent a promising (QKD), "says one of the researchers, Giuseppe Vallone, from the University of Padova, Italy. [1
In fact, hacking into a quantum mechanic message would cause it to self-destruct
So far in the theory, but keeping these secure channels open across long distances has proven tricky
The key to the successful data exchange was the use of passive retro-reflectors mounted on the satellites to keep the long-distance light signals intact, breaking the previous record distance for this type of quantum communication by an extra 15,000 kilometers
While satellites placed higher in the orbit, like the GLONASS ones, they are more difficult to communicate reliably with, they pass in the sight of ground stations more regularly, potentially allowing a unhacktable quantum network that can span the globe. 19659002] We are just getting started with this type of technology – not least because scientists are still trying to figure out if it can actually work – and for the moment it's not clear exactly what a quantum internet would be used for or how
One idea is that it could become a specialized, very secure extension to the normal internet, used by a small selection of apps and devices
What we do now know is that quantum communications are possible between the ground and high orbit satellites, extending the potential reach of the new technology
"Satellite-based technologies enable a wide range of civil, scientific and military applications such as communications, navigation and timing, remote sensing, meteorology, exploration and exploration, space exploration and astronomy, "says Vallone.
" The core of these systems is to safely transmit information and data from orbiting satellites to ground stations on Earth.
The research has been published in Quantum Science and Technology .