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Watch The Cat Video That NASA Just Streamed From Deep Space

If there are any aliens out there, we’ve just introduced them to one of humanity’s finest inventions: the cat video. As part of its deep-space laser experiment, NASA just streamed a 15-second clip of a cat named Taters to earth. Its origin was a spacecraft called Psyche about 19 million miles away. Not too bad, right?

On December 11, NASA was able to stream this ultra-HD 15-second clip from deep space in just 101 seconds, streaming at 267 megabits per second. That’s way faster than most broadband internet connections you can sign up for in the United States — and in a press release, NASA admitted that it actually took longer to send the cat video between Earthbound NASA facilities than it did for that video to come from the depths of space.

The transmission came from Psyche, a spacecraft traveling to an asteroid of the same name. That asteroid is full of unique metals that very well could be the building blocks of an early planet — but we won’t know for sure until the craft arrives on the asteroid, which should happen by August 2029.

No story mentioning cats would be complete without prompt payment of the Cat Tax, so here’s that quick clip of Taters chasing a laser pointer while some jazzy tunes play in the background.

The Video NASA’s Laser Communications Experiment Streamed From Deep Space

Whimsy aside, this brief feline transmission actually serves a critical purpose for NASA. Its Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) experiment is designed to test out the rapid transmission of messages from Earth to deep space; after all, if we’re going to drop some astronauts off on the surface of Mars, we might want a speedy and effective way to communicate with them. The clip was transmitted via an instrument called a flight laser transceiver, which NASA says is “capable of sending and receiving near-infrared signals.”

Here’s a little more about DSOC’s intentions:

The laser communications demo, which launched with NASA’s Psyche mission on Oct. 13, is designed to transmit data from deep space at rates 10 to 100 times greater than the state-of-the-art radio frequency systems used by deep space missions today. As Psyche travels to the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, the technology demonstration will send high-data-rate signals as far out as the Red Planet’s greatest distance from Earth. In doing so, it paves the way for higher-data-rate communications capable of sending complex scientific information, high-definition imagery, and video in support of humanity’s next giant leap: sending humans to Mars.

And that cute clip of Taters? Well, it also features a bunch of graphics that illustrate a few different DSOC features, including the orbital path of the craft from which the video was broadcast and technical information about the laser. It just goes to show that the best way to innovate is always with a handy cat clip.


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