China launches the world’s first quantum satellite

You probably didn’t notice this but three weeks ago, in my latest column for the trade union Prospect discussing information technology issues, I wrote:

“… physicists have been using quantum mechanics to think about new types of communications systems. One idea is to use the power of what is called quantum teleportation – roughly, how to pass a tiny bit of data from one place to another without its having to travel through the intervening space. As of 2015, the record distance for a quantum jump was 150 km, the minimum distance between the ground and an orbiting satellite. So one day we might have a quantum Internet.”

In fact, this week China launched a satellite deploying this very technology. The media are calling it “the world’s first quantum satellite” and are highlighting that the intention is to develop hack-proof communications. You can learn more here.


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