Optical comms uses infrared lasers to transmit and receive data vs traditional radio frequencies. It offers major improvements.
Optical can transmit 10-100X more data than radio. It needs less power and smaller antennas on spacecraft.
Optical comms is being tested now between planes, ground stations and the ISS to prep for deep space.
NASA aims to demo a laser link between the Moon and Earth during Artemis II in 2024. Full operation follows.
NASA is working with commercial partners like SpaceX on optical communications technologies and services.
After the Moon, optical comms could enable high-definition video and more from Mars, Jupiter and beyond.
Optical comms will transform deep space exploration and discovery in our solar system and beyond.