To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Earth just received record-breaking laser-beamed message from 16,000,000 miles away

Earth just received record-breaking laser-beamed message from 16,000,000 miles away

The message was beamed from an immense distance, far beyond the Moon

Earth has received a message from outer space.

Yes, you read that right, a message arrived on Earth from a source some 16 million kilometres - or around 10 million miles - from the planet.

This is a record-breaking distance from which to receive a communication, and begs the obvious question: what could have produced the signal?

Well, as fantastic or terrifying as it would be to make contact with an alien species, it seems that those waiting for the first contact may have to wait a little longer.

That's because this particular signal was produced by something that actually originated on Earth itself - NASA's Psyche spaceship.

But how on earth, or indeed not on earth, do you manage to reliably send messages over such huge distances?

This was achieved by using something called 'optical communication'. So, rather than NASA's usual method of using radio waves to communicate over such large distances, this uses different kinds of waves.

The advantage of this is that you can send more information per message, which is obviously useful when sending a message can take a long while.

Who knows what else is out there?
Sharamand / Getty

Dr Jason Mitchell is director of the Advanced Communications and Navigation Technologies Division at NASA, and said: “Optical communication is a boon for scientists and researchers who always want more from their space missions, and will enable human exploration of deep space. More data means more discoveries.”

He is not the only one to be excited about the message. Trudy Kortes, director of Technology Demonstrations at NASA HQ said in a statement: “Achieving first light is one of many critical DSOC milestones in the coming months, paving the way toward higher-data-rate communications capable of sending scientific information, high-definition imagery, and streaming video in support of humanity’s next giant leap: sending humans to Mars."

The message came from beyond the Moon.
MASTER / Getty

This also represents the first time that such a message has been successfully sent.

Meera Srinivasan works with Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC), and said: “[The] test was the first to fully incorporate the ground assets and flight transceiver, requiring the DSOC and Psyche operations teams to work in tandem.

“It was a formidable challenge, and we have a lot more work to do, but for a short time, we were able to transmit, receive, and decode some data.”

So it might not be aliens reaching out to us from beyond the stars, but it does represent a big step forward in our ability to send information back from our own expeditions.

Featured Image Credit: Getty stock

Topics: News, World News, Space, Technology