A new specialist facility at The Australian National University (ANU) will soon provide Australia and the world access to massive amounts of locked away data captured in space at incredibly fast speeds.
According to a recent press release, the Quantum Optical Ground Station will help researchers and industry better access unused data about the Universe as well as enable better monitoring of the planet.
Background of the initiative
A first for Australia, the station comes with AU$ 800,000 in ACT Government funding.
The project, which also includes a new telescope, is worth up to AU$ 2.4 million in total.
Funding contributors include:
- AU$ 520,000 from ANU InSpace
- AU$ 400,000 from CSIRO, Australia’s national science research agency
- AU$ 250,000 from a German company
The project lead is from the University’s Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics.
Capturing data from space
He explained that the new station will develop technologies that enable license free and secure high-bandwidth data transmission to and from space.
Most of the data being captured from satellites and instruments in space never finds its way back down to Earth.
The on-board processing in these machines means that people are often left in the dark about the planet, as well as the mysteries of the Universe.
The Keppler space telescope, for instance, was launched by NASA to discover Earth-sized planets.
However, it was only able to transmit 1% of the data it captured, back home, while 99% of the data were lost.
The Ground Station
This new ground station will change all that as it gives the ability to tap into the massive volumes of data gathered each day in space.
Additionally, it will improve monitoring of the Earth’s water, weather and other vital signs.
The new station will also develop technology that could one day replace the undersea fibre optical cables global telecommunications is currently reliant on.
Furthermore, it will assist satellites from Asia in their space and Earth monitoring and telecommunications work.
The ANU station will be the first in an Australian network of optical ground stations, with partners in Western Australia, South Australia, ACT and New Zealand.
Canberra is the perfect place for the new station as it enjoys exceptional natural conditions for this type of work.
Not only that, but it is also backed by the world-leading and globally recognised space research and development taking place each day at ANU
This new station will help position Australia and the ACT as one of the world’s leading centres in the burgeoning field of quantum space communications, and boost the nation’s space efforts.
It will bring in experts and industry leaders from all over the world to work together, as well as power the local economy and create local jobs.
It will be the first hub in a network spanning the vast continent and New Zealand.
More importantly, it will help launch Australia’s space communications capacity, allowing for the opportunity to tap into multi-billion space communications markets across the globe.