Ultra-Hot Space Lasers That Slam Holes In Clouds Could Help Provide High Speed Satellite Communications

Scientists believe that by 2025, lasers will provide us with the vast amount of information we need, unlike the present radio frequencies used.

Ultra-hot space lasers could provide satellite communications by 2025.
NASA / Getty Images

Scientists believe that by 2025, lasers will provide us with the vast amount of information we need, unlike the present radio frequencies used.

Scientists believe that by 2025, ultra-hot space lasers that create holes in clouds could help tremendously in providing us with high-speed satellite communications. As it currently stands, even though satellite radio communication is still very useful, there is no way that it can provide us with the amount of information that we currently need, and it will certainly not keep up with demand as time marches on.

Because of this, scientists believe that lasers may be the answer, as they are capable of transmitting 10,000 times more information than radio waves are. However, weather effects could pose a problem, as lasers would not be able to transmit information through clouds or fog. Still, scientists believe that they may have finally solved this problem, as the Daily Mail reports.

Because of the relatively high density of clouds, laser beams would normally be stopped in their tracks, unable to properly transmit information. But University of Geneva scientists believe that they may have overcome this obstacle with the creation of an ultra-hot laser that produces holes in clouds, albeit temporarily, so that laser beams can pass through with information while the hole is still there. This marks the first time that scientists have ever created such holes in clouds, according to a new study.

With radio frequencies, there is also the concern of security, and the long wavelengths that are used to transfer information are hindered by the amount of data they are able to carry and transmit. As a result, lasers are positioned as the perfect solution to these problems.

Jean-Pierre Wolf, a professor in the Physics Section at UNIGE’s Faculty of Science, explained that with lasers, there is no limit to the number of channels that can be used, unlike radio frequencies.

“It’s a new technology that is full of promise. The very short wavelengths can carry 10,000 times more items of information than radio frequency, and there aren’t any limits to the number of channels. Lasers can also be used to target a single person, meaning it’s a highly secure form of communication.”

The idea of using lasers to transmit vast amounts of information is already gaining traction around the world, as a large number of ground stations are currently being constructed that are able to receive laser signals. The primary obstacle with this implementation is that weather would need to be closely monitored so that satellites would choose appropriate stations to be used based upon weather conditions. According to Professor Wolf, this is why ultra-hot space lasers would be best suited for the job.

“We want to get around the problem by making a hole directly through the clouds so that the laser beam can pass through. Our experiments mean we can test an opacity that is similar to natural clouds. Now it’s going to be about doing it on thicker clouds up to one kilometer thick. We’re talking about possible global implementation by 2025, and our idea is to be ready and to allow countries that are overcast to have this technology.”

The notion of using these high-temperature space lasers isn’t as difficult as it may sound either, as Guillaume Schimmel, a researcher on Professor Wolf’s team, noted.

“All you then need to do is keep the laser beam on the cloud and send the laser that contains the information at the same time. It then slips into the hole through the cloud and allows the data to be transferred.”

The discovery that these lasers could provide us with the amount of information we need was important enough to merit winning the 2018 Nobel Prize for Physics. While there’s no word on when — or if — this technology will become widespread, but there may come a day where satellite radio communication becomes a thing of the past.