19Aug2019

How Do People Manage to Communicate in Space?

Space is just something immense for one part of society, while for others, it’s like a workplace or ground for researching. To start with, communication on our planet is an essential part of everyday life.

Image result for communicating in space

In this article we talk about the methods used to communicate in space and the future possibilities.

It provides us with all goods, services, and opportunities. As you guessed, communication in space is the background for researches. It helps astronauts to transfer information about their observations. By the way, is it possible to transfer sounds through a vacuum? Of course, it is impossible to call or write a message in WhatsApp from Venera to your friend on Earth. Communication was the first object for researches after the first flight to space. However, more than 50 years have passed within that time. That’s why a lot of studies have been done and there some inventions in this sphere. So, let’s get acquainted with them closer.

First Attempts of Communication

At first, a radio technician used shortwave radio frequencies to communicate with artificial satellites. They are known to penetrate the Earth’s ionosphere freely. In addition, distances between satellites and terrestrial stations were common to existing radio equipment. They were about only thousands of kilometers away. However, when the first space rockets and ships went into navigation, they needed to maintain radio and television communications at distances of up to hundreds of thousands of kilometers. Astronauts started to use radio connection.

The information delivers through radio waves which of different lengths. Astronauts need to strengthen sound when they want to share the information in a very long distance. Because of it, they start to use aerial. Now, when people are going to space, they wear specially equipped suits. You may think that they wear it to protect themselves from the space environment. But, the primary designation of this equipment is to exchange information timely. This suit has a “Snoopy Cap.” Such a piece of it helps astronauts to communicate with the Earth. Snoopy Cap has a special microphone for the ear.

Image result for How Do People Manage to Communicate in Space?

Satellites are amazing tools for observing the Earth and communications.

The main function of it is listening. Also, there is a microphone in front of the mouse for speaking. This cap is invisible, as it is situated around the head under the helmet. Honestly, when this device was invented, the speed of information exchange was very low. For instance, to share three words, people have waited for 10 hours. Fortunately, today’s technologies are innovative, and they provide people with information timely; however, there are exceptions.

Future Technologies

Radio technologies were effective a few centuries ago. The world is coming up to the era of new technologies. Thus, the radio system is too slow now, and researches are trying to find new contemporary and fast methods of communication.

Superlight Communication

For example, during the work on the project, astronauts had 30-40 minutes of light time. Therefore, it really had an impact on how they were planning the mission. If you have a satellite in Earth orbit, you can communicate with it in real-time. If your communication with the satellite occurs with a 30-minute delay, this means that you will now know about the problem that happened 30 minutes ago. By the time you send a response message, it will be at least half an hour after the incident, and only after an hour, you will receive a message back about the results. Including this, researchers claimed that superlight communication is the best way to develop space expeditions. It will create a possibility to send signals that can at least make the impression of communication with a speed exceeding the speed of light. However, at the moment, superlight communication is beyond the scope of what is possible from the scientific point of view.

Image result for laser communicating in space

For nearly 60 years, communication with a spacecraft has been through radio waves. As technology and the aerospace industry evolve, new methods of communication, like lasers, are being used. Image Credit: Space Laser

Laser Communication

This technology demonstrates the practical use of broadband lasers for connecting and establishing communications in space. Its download is performed much faster than a similar radio connection.  The signal will go to Earth, no matter what the interference is. Neither cosmic dust nor distance is an obstacle to the laser signal. Even at times when the atmosphere layer increased, the signal will be transmitted without any problems, which indicates the effectiveness of this device. NASA has tested this way of communication, and among the skeptics, there was no sign of mistrust, as even the clouds did not become a barrier to signal transmission.

XCOM Communication

This system was tested by NASA researches in March 2019. XCOM is a new system of communication, which will use X-ray. They work at an extreme distance. Radio communication has limited capabilities. Short x-ray waves should allow more information to be transmitted than radio waves using the same amount of energy. Radio communication also becomes unavailable under certain conditions, for example, when a spacecraft enters the dense layers of the Earth’s atmosphere, and thermal energy turns into a barrier for communication. In such cases, communication with the astronauts or the aerials may disappear for several minutes. The XCOM system can solve this problem and overcome the plasma shield of an aircraft or capsules that descend in the atmosphere. The technology has not yet been considered for use on the surface of the Earth since it can be dangerous due to radioactive x-ray radiation and a large amount of energy in its waves. In the future, the system should transfer information to probes much faster.

Conclusion

To conclude, space is still something strange and supernatural for every 5 humans in the world. Now and then it seems that there are no bound and limits in researches. In spite of this, astronauts discover dozens of new facts about space every day. But, it is a fact that communication is the key to all questions. You see that scientists are still working in the sphere of space communication. Let’s hope, one day, you can take a mobile phone and call your friend to Mars.

Author’s Bio: Cheryl Hearts is a passionate journalist from Boston, Massachusetts. She decided to dedicate her life to writing because she thinks this way she can be the most useful for the community. After obtaining a Master’s degree in Journalism, Cheryl started running her own blog CherylHearts.com where she’s covering topics of great interest to society.

Read previous post:
Elon Musk Wants To Nuke Mars! Seriously.

Don' freak out OK. If you read the headline you’re...

Rocket Lab Catch Its Booster In Mid-Air With A Helicopter

In 2006, Peter Beck founded the US and New Zealand-based...

Milky Way Galaxy Black Hole Suddenly Lights Up

Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of...

Close