tech2 News StaffJan 19, 2017 17:47:09 IST
The Chinese Academy of Sciences claims that the world’s first quantum communication satellite is finally operational.
Launched by China in August last year, the satellite, called QUESS (Quantum Experiments at Space Scale), or Micius, as it’s better known, is a kind of technology demonstrator for quantum communications, reports RT.
Until now, scientists were testing the capabilities and the systems of the satellite.
Quantum communication as a phenomenon is hard to explain. Even Einstein called it “spooky action at a distance.” The simplest explanation we can give is that the satellite uses quantum entanglement to enable secure, untraceable, unhackable communications.
Quantum entanglement is a phenomena in which atoms/particles get “entangled” (by various means). When entangled, any change of state in one particle is instantaneously reflected in the other particle. How does that help? Well, with quantum entanglement, this phenomena is valid over any distance.
If you were to measure the spin of an entangled electron and find it to be positive, the spin of the other entangled electron will be negative. If you were to reverse the spin of one entangled electron, the spin of the other entangled electron will instantaneously reverse itself.
What we’re saying is that information can be passed on, instantaneously, over any known distance using just two, entangled particles.
Let that sink in for a bit. We’re talking about information transfer that happens faster than the speed of light. An impossibility according to classical physics.
In the case of communication, the two entangled particles are unique and cannot, under any known circumstances, be replicated without the replication being discovered.
This ensures the absolute integrity of the communication system.
The exact method that China is using to do this is unknown. As mentioned earlier, the satellite is only a test platform and will remain in orbit for only two years.
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