China’s Quantum Cryptography Satellite

Yesterday, China launched a unique satellite into orbit, the worlds first quantum satellite. This satellite has been designed to take part in quantum entanglement experiments over a rang many multiples more than have been achieved on Earth. The Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS) mission is due to last two years and will hopefully remain functional past its expected life span. The Micius (the satellite being named after a Chinese philosopher) will capture a pair of entangled photons and then project one of them down to research bases either in China or Austria. The particles should remain entangled and so theoretically instant communication could be achieved between the satellite and Earth. Despite the short travel speed of an entangled signal the time taken to alter one of the photons is slow and so the interval between messages is relatively slow but with a guarantee of security. There is no theoretical or practical to intercept this signal and then reading it would be even harder matter. This means that although this method can’t be used for all communication it can be used to transmit a key for a cipher which can then be used to communicate. The age old problem of cryptography, communicating a code but not letting and intermediate interceptor read it. This satellite could demonstrate a solution over  along distance with minimal distortion to the photons as it will mostly be passing through a vacuum.


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