Scientists use Mona Lisa’s image for groundbreaking laser communication experiment


Mona Lisa’s image went for a trip to the moon and is back recently. The renowned face was carried via a laser beam in an experiment conducted by NASA to a  man-made satellite orbiting around the moon. The image traveled 240,000 miles from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

mona lisa image

Photo Credit: Vanity Fair

The transmission was successful and is a big achievement. It would have surely made Leonardo da Vinci happy. It was for the first time that the laser beam concept was used at planetary distances to transmit images. NASA is contemplating using lasers to deliver data from outer space as well, as it would be faster than a radio link. They promise to bring live high definition videos from as far  out from the solar system as Jupiter.

With time, Laser could replace radio communication, which is normally used to communicate via satellite. The Mona Lisa’s image was sent back to earth to confirm its receipt by traditional radio telemetry. The image was not perfect because of the earth’s atmosphere, though the sky was clean. Scientists fixed the fault in a similar manner to that in CD’s, using laser technology.

The experiment was done on a slow data rate, but it has set the stage for future high-speed data communication for the next moon mission.