Germany is not exactly blessed with fast internet on the go. In some international comparisons, you even end up behind Albania or Cambodia in terms of network coverage and transmission speed. Even slower, however, is the data transmission in space. This is done so far on long-wave radio waves. Here, however, the greater the distance between transmitter and receiver, the lower the transmission rate. So recently, the NASA probe New Horizons flew past the former planet Pluto. It then took more than a year for all the data to arrive on Earth. The average download speed was just 2,000 bits per second. NASA is therefore researching a new type of data transfer called Xcom.
Initial tests on the ISS are already underway
It is a key word from X-Ray and Communication. X-rays should therefore be used to enable communication between objects in space and the base station on Earth. In theory, this would allow transmissions in the gigabit range. In addition, the rays can be sent more targeted and energy consumption is lower than in the previously used radio waves. First of all, the concept has to be tested in practice. This will happen in the coming weeks on the international space station ISS. There, on one side of the station, an X-ray transmitter is installed, which then sends data-provided X-rays to the other side of the station. Here again, a corresponding recipient named "Nicer" is ready.
A mission on earth is not realistic
If these first tests are successful, then transmissions over longer distances should also be tested. The big advantage: at least theoretically, the transmission rate should not fall as much as with the previously used radio waves. Scientists believe that once spacecraft has been successfully implemented by Xcom, space research will be boosted once again. Because researchers would then be able to communicate much more purposefully with probes and rovers.
For the smartphone users in Germany, however, the new technology does not represent an alternative, because a broadly scattered X-ray radiation would pose too great a health risk on earth. Transmission via cable is technically impossible.
Via: Business Insider