NASA’s Lasercom System Aims to Beam an HD Video Feed from Mars reports that as cameras technology has allowed us to increase the resolution of the images we capture and video we watch, so has the bandwidth required to transfer that imagery. In space, the amount of data that can be sent is currently limited due to the radio frequency (RF) systems being relied upon.

NASA is trying to fix that limitation by testing a new communications system called a Laser Communication Relay (LCR). LCR is a desirable replacement because the optical/laser communication system (lasercom) allows for much higher data transfer rates while retaining the same size, weight and power requirements of existing RF systems. What that also means is a smaller optical system can still transmit at a decent data rate too, but save on power, weight, and size on board a satellite.

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