China's Quantum Satellite Sends Hack-Proof Data To Earth For The First Time

Posted: Aug 11 2017, 3:46am CDT | by , Updated: Aug 11 2017, 3:56am CDT , in Latest Science News

Chinese Quantum Satellite Sends Hack-Proof Data to Earth for the First Time
Credit: 2Physics

By using quantum technology, China lays the foundation for secure and unhackable global quantum communication network

China has taken a major step forward in its pursuit of a hack-proof communication network. The country’s first-ever quantum satellite has transmitted potentially unbreakable data from space to Earth for the first time. Not only does the data was successfully received by two ground based stations in China but they were also able to send encrypted signal from ground to satellite – a move that could pave the way for world’s first unbreakable computer network.

Hackers always find new ways to breach computer security, to access sensitive information and to damage companies and countries. To overcome this problem, China has launched the world’s first quantum satellite last August. Quantum-based computing is secure and relies on laws of physics instead of mathematical encryption. It allows a person to encrypt a message in such a way that it would never be read by anyone unrelated.

“Satellite-based quantum key distribution can be linked to metropolitan quantum networks where fibers are sufficient and convenient to connect numerous users within a city over 100 km. We can thus envision a space-ground integrated quantum network, enabling quantum cryptography- most likely the first commercial application of quantum information- useful at a global scale.” Pan Jianwei, lead scientist of the mission told Xinhua.

“That, for instance, can meet the demand of making an absolute safe phone call or transmitting a large amount of bank data.”

Named Quantum Experiments at Space Scale, or QUESS, the satellite was lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the remote northwestern province of Gansu and successfully entered orbit at an altitude of 500 kilometers.

The communication distance between the satellite and the ground station ranges from 645 kilometers to 1,200 kilometers. Once fully operational, the satellite will allow to establish secure communications on ground stations separated by many thousands of kilometers.

“Once intercepted or measured, the quantum state of the key will change, and the information being intercepted will self-destruct.” Pan said

China is planning to launch more space science satellites in the coming years after the success of planned experiments with the world's first quantum satellite. The purpose is to create an even broad, secure network, potentially linking people anywhere in the world.

Wang Jianyu, chief commander of the satellite said. “To increase the coverage, we plan to send satellites to higher orbits and construct a satellite constellation, which requires developing many new technologies.”

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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