Ground station to help launch missions to Mars

A brand new optical floor station launched by The Australian Nationwide College (ANU) will assist NASA and different main house companies safely attain Mars.

The ANU Quantum Optical Floor Station, primarily based on the College’s Mt Stromlo Observatory, is a telescope that can assist high-speed superior communications with satellites from low-Earth orbit to the Moon and different deep house laser communication. 

It should additionally drive future analysis on superior communications applied sciences, offering satellite tv for pc networks with quantum safety and world connectivity.

With assist from the Australian House Company’s Moon to Mars initiative, the station is being upgraded with the most recent optical know-how that can allow communication between the station and future NASA-crewed missions past low-Earth orbit.

Affiliate Professor Francis Bennet from ANU mentioned the bottom station was the “preeminent know-how of its type in Australia”.

“Utilizing lasers, the bottom station will permit us to speak with satellites and crews hurtling by means of house, supporting main crewed house missions and future house exploration,” Affiliate Professor Bennet mentioned.

“We’ve constructed programs which are leading edge of their functionality, and upgrading them to be suitable with NASA missions that can assist everlasting operations on the Moon, and enhance astronauts’ potential to attach again with Earth and permit high-definition video from the Moon and Mars.

“This consists of compatibility with NASA’s crewed lunar mission Artemis II.” 

The station obtained main funding from the ACT Authorities’s Precedence Funding Program.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr mentioned the bottom station situated in Canberra is a key nationwide asset that positions Australia and the Indo-Pacific area to collaborate and compete on the worldwide stage.

“Canberra has the capabilities to assist house trade success and to benefit from the big funding being made globally in house, by means of our rising data financial system,” mentioned the Chief Minister.

“The ANU Quantum Optical Floor Station is one other of the ACT’s strategic house sector co-investments that can allow aggressive benefit for Australia’s house trade, entice expertise from researchers, lecturers and trade to the ACT not solely to assist our financial system proceed to diversify however to equip trade with very important infrastructure to innovate and develop.

“The ACT Authorities is proud to have supported this bold undertaking by means of our Precedence Funding Program.” 

Director of the ANU Institute for House, Professor Anna Moore, mentioned the optical floor station was a “stellar” instance of how ANU and Australian analysis was making main contributions to the way forward for house know-how and exploration.

“It’s actually thrilling to see this new know-how that can play a pivotal position in main future house missions come on-line,” Professor Moore mentioned.

“With this know-how, we may even have the ability to higher entry unused knowledge and details about the Universe.

“We’re thrilled that this station is now constructed and excited concerning the pivotal position it is going to play in our exploration and understanding of house. We look ahead to working with our undertaking companions on this nation-leading know-how for a few years to return.”  

The ANU Quantum Optical Floor Station is supported by funding from the ACT Authorities, with further assist from the Australian House Company, CSIRO and TESAT.

This text was first printed by ANU Reporter.


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