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NASA Just Quantum-Teleported Data Faster Than the Speed of Light

Imagine downloading the entire library of Marvel films in a snap.
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Scientists at NASA have done the impossible: quantum teleportation. For the first time, the NASA scientists used quantum entanglement to teleport information stored in particles over a large distance. The instant transfer of units of quantum information, known as qubits, were instantly teleported by a distance of 44 kilometers, or roughly the distance between Muntinlupa to Quezon City. 

The feat is the marriage of quantum physics and applied mechanics, with very promising applications in communications, especially for the Internet. Imagine instantly downloading terabytes of data in an instant, or downloading the entire library of Marvel films in a snap. 

How It Works

Quantum entanglement is a phenomenon in which two particles are linked together over vast distances, such that information introduced to one particle is exactly shared by the other particle at exactly the same moment. 

Scientists have known the theory behind entanglement for quite some time, but proving it was difficult because the quantum states are easily disrupted by many interferences from the environment. 

To prove the theory, researchers from Caltech, NASA, and Fermilab (Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory) constructed a unique system between two labs that are located 44 kilometers away from each other. 

The “system” is made of three nodes that react to each other, triggering a sequence of qubits. These qubits passed a signal from one lab to the other lab instantly. 

According to the paper published in PrX Quantum, the teleportation was faster than the speed of light, and had a fidelity of 90 percent. Fidelity refers to the alikeness of the signals of the qubits from the two laboratories. 

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“This high fidelity is important especially in the case of quantum networks designed to connect advanced quantum devices, including quantum sensors,” wrote Maria Spiropulu, one of the researchers from Caltech.

If technology and hardware catch up, we could soon have internet faster than the speed on light. But for now, we still have to bear with the shortcomings of our service providers.

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor, Esquire Philippines
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