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Friday, June 27, 2014

Laser Technology in the Golden Age of Science

I don't think much anymore about the technology that allows me to type my blogs, my emails or access websites. When I visit a blog, I anticipate clicking on the "Comment" button and instantly having access to the Comment Box, and I expect that same data speed when I am done and it's ready to upload.

The technology we utilize today is largely based on radio waves. But what if our future included data transmission through laser beams?

It sounds like the stuff of Star Trek and science fiction novels. But it's something NASA scientists have been working on for some time. And recently, they were actually able to use laser technology to beam a message from the Space Station to Earth.

We think of our current data transmission as something that is already "high technology" but as packets of information get larger (think of all those movies streaming, for example) laser beams hold the promise of even faster, more efficient and less expensive transmission. To put its use into place would no doubt require a complete reorganization of data transmission, much as the upgrade from original dial-up morphed into DSL or broadband.

Perhaps in the future, we won't require wi-fi at all to surf the web or download our favorite author's newest eBook. Perhaps the information can stream to us on a beam of light, anywhere on Earth... or in the Universe.