NASA's Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) has made history using a pulsed laser beam to transmit data over the 239,000 miles between the moon and Earth at a record-breaking download rate of 622 megabits per second (Mbps).
LLCD is NASA's first system for two-way communication using a laser instead of radio waves. It also has demonstrated an error-free data upload rate of 20 Mbps transmitted from the primary ground station in New Mexico to the spacecraft currently orbiting the moon.
Weather experts are gathering at the World Meteorological Organisation later this month to discuss ultra-short lasers as a promising tool for weather modulation and climate studies. Launching these lasers into the atmosphere could potentially control lightning and also assist in cloud production and rainfall. Researchers have begun testing the equipment outside, by firing short pulses of laser light at the sky.
Researchers at a laboratory in California say they've had a breakthrough in producing fusion power with a giant laser. The success comes after years of struggling to get the laser to work and is another step in the decades-long quest for fusion energy.
Omar Hurricane, a researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, says that for the first time, they've produced significant amounts of fusion by zapping a target with their laser. "We've gotten more energy out of the fusion fuel than we put into the fusion fuel," he says.