NASA has beamed the first video of a cat into space.
The mission may seem bizarre but it was used to test whether it’s possible to stream a video from deep space.
An ultra-HD video of Taters the cat was beamed from a satellite 19 million miles from Earth.
Nasa explained on X, formerly known as Twitter: “We just streamed the first ultra-HD video brought to you via laser from deep space. And it’s a video of Taters, a tabby cat.
“This test will pave the way for high-data-rate communications in support of the next giant leap: sending humans to Mars.”
Taters the orange cat is shown chasing a laser in the 15 second clip.
The sweet video was originally loaded on Nasa’s Psyche probe before it was blasted to space.
It set off on a six year mission to an asteroid in October.
This December, it was able to beam the video back and help researchers learn more deep space streaming.
The clip took 101 seconds to reach Earth and was sent at a rate of 267 megabits per second.
It was beamed to the Hale Telescope at Caltech’s Palomar Observatory in San Diego County, California.
After it was downloading, scientists watched it in realtime from Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California as it played on loop.
Nasa’s deputy administrator Pam Melroy said: “This accomplishment underscores our commitment to advancing optical communications as a key element to meeting our future data transmission needs.
“Increasing our bandwidth is essential to achieving our future exploration and science goals, and we look forward to the continued advancement of this technology and the transformation of how we communicate during future interplanetary missions.”
Bill Klipstein, the tech demo’s project manager at JPL, said: “One of the goals is to demonstrate the ability to transmit broadband video across millions of miles.
“Nothing on Psyche generates video data, so we usually send packets of randomly generated test data.
“But to make this significant event more memorable, we decided to work with designers at JPL to create a fun video, which captures the essence of the demo as part of the Psyche mission.”
Dr. Thomas Hughes is a UK-based scientist and science communicator who makes complex topics accessible to readers. His articles explore breakthroughs in various scientific disciplines, from space exploration to cutting-edge research.