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Thread: Are we communicating with lasers?

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    Are we communicating with lasers?

    is any communicating being done with lasers? is it done thru the military, cia, experimental or otherwise? has the capacity of lasers to carry data been measured? if so, how does the capacity compare with microwave-relay networks? i bet the capacity of lasers to carry voice & data far surpasses micro-wave networks.. so, would there be a movement towards adding lasers to commercial communication systems? i havent heard that lasers are used for commercial purposes.. if not, how far in the distant future would laser communications be? would they be more expensive than microwave-relay systems? why? are there downsides to using lasers for communications? would lasers and microwave-relay systems continue to exist together in the marketplace, or would one outpace the other in development, cost, ease of control, etc.? i had thought the applications of lasers would have been expanded further by this time than what has been reported in the media, but maybe we havent heard the whole story, yes or no?
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    Ever hear of fiber optic cable?
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    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_...ation_in_space and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free-s..._communication might answer some questions. In summary: yes, it's used. The bandwidths possible are far higher than those for microwave links, but atmospheric disturbances case much more severe problems. We'll probably see some rapid progress in using laser comms in space applications in the near future, though.

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    yes
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    I know this isn't what the OP was really asking about, but actually we use lasers all the time for communication, specifically to tell an audience where in a slide they should be looking. I think that a drawback of lasers is that they can be dangerous, so you have to make sure that people aren't able to look into them.
    As above, so below

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    Quote Originally Posted by remoat View Post
    Are we communicating with lasers?
    Apparently not. I gave it a try: asked my laser how it was doing today, what it thought of Hillary vs. Trump ... but it didn't seem at all interested in communicating. Maybe someone else will have better luck.

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    Another issue with lasers in atmosphere is interference. Clouds, smoke, etc can mess up a laser, where the microwave links just don't care.

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    the real point of my post is that something new is being done everyday.. yesterday's failures are steppingstones to tomorrow's successes.. whatever blocks or creates problems with a laser is a temporary condition.. eventually, if someone defines a real need for lasers to penetrate any atmospheric affect, it will be done.. im not saying it will be done, absolutely, im saying it will happen if a need for it is demonstrated and proposed investigations can be justified beyond the expense of the R&D aspects.. where the interest is great and the money sufficient, no obstacle will remain so for very long..


    Quote Originally Posted by LookingSkyward View Post
    Another issue with lasers in atmosphere is interference. Clouds, smoke, etc can mess up a laser, where the microwave links just don't care.
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    The problem with that main point is that there is nothing new here, remoat. Communication using lasers is established and widely used technology not "yesterday's failures", e.g. fiber optics.
    Free-space optical communication was not in your OP but is established (if rarely used) technology).
    Laser communication in space passed the R&D stage with the first demonstration in November 2001.
    The last 2 are limited but there is R&D about extending them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LookingSkyward View Post
    Another issue with lasers in atmosphere is interference. Clouds, smoke, etc can mess up a laser, where the microwave links just don't care.
    If you are restricting your definition of a laser to visible light, that is correct. But a laser doesn't have to be visible light. There are microwave lasers, so they would be just as uncaring as decoherent microwaves.
    As above, so below

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    Quote Originally Posted by remoat View Post
    the real point of my post is [...]
    remoat: when you start a thread, please put the real point of the first post in the first post. Don't leave people guessing. Had I noted the OP earlier, I would have moved it to another forum because it contained a lot of technical questions but nothing that made it an obvious fit for the Astronomy Activism forum. Even after your "real point" post, I'm still not clear what you're trying to say that relates this thread to astronomy activism. Please report this post to explain how it fits. Otherwise, I'll move this thread to another forum.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    . There are microwave lasers....
    Those will always be MASERs in my tiny brain

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    Yes, that's why I said it would depend on your definition. Light sometimes means just visible light but sometimes to the whole spectrum. Where I work we have an XFEL, which is called a laser but is actually x-rays.
    As above, so below

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    Quote Originally Posted by remoat View Post
    is any communicating being done with lasers?
    On the bleeding edge--
    http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Te...ages_via_laser

    In other news...Tupac lives!
    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Bo...llite_999.html
    And so does Skynet http://www.army-technology.com/projects/skynet/

    Wait a minute...

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    experimental or otherwise? has the capacity of lasers to carry data been measured? if so, how does the capacity compare with microwave-relay networks? i bet the capacity of lasers to carry voice & data far surpasses micro-wave networks.

  16. 2017-Feb-17, 09:32 PM

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    Wasn't laser communication used in the Apollo moon trips?
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    Quote Originally Posted by algore View Post
    Apparently not. I gave it a try: asked my laser how it was doing today, what it thought of Hillary vs. Trump ... but it didn't seem at all interested in communicating. Maybe someone else will have better luck.
    Well, that was your problem. Lasers don't talk politics, especially after all the patent controversy.

    ---

    I'd count reading and writing the bits onto DVD or CD as communication.
    Last edited by swampyankee; 2017-Mar-19 at 08:23 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AstroRockHunter View Post
    Wasn't laser communication used in the Apollo moon trips?
    Funny enough i thought just like you, i was going to ask the very same question.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dee thompson View Post
    Funny enough i thought just like you, i was going to ask the very same question.
    Are you referring to the Lunar Retro-ranging reflectors? Those were placed by the Apollo astronauts (specifically A11, A14 & A15) but were designed to enable accurate measurement of the distance between the Earth & the moon. They weren't for communication.

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    Just thinking--since there is no atmosphere on the moon--you probably could use reflectors above grade for laser communiation--especially around any crater-mounted dish antenna listening to deep space--so as to reduce noise.

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    Thread moved from Astronomy Activism, which it has nothing to do with, to S&T.
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    Don't know about the rest of the world but here in the UK we have been using Lasers as part of our telecom's system since the mid 80's. Today any phone call (land line or mobile) most if not all of an internet connection and much else is carried by laser. All fiber optic systems use lasers!

    Mark

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