China launches world’s first quan­tum satel­lite

The Myanmar Times - - World -

CHINA launched the world’s first quan­tum satel­lite yes­ter­day, state me­dia re­ported, in an ef­fort to har­ness the power of par­ti­cle physics to build an un­break­able sys­tem of en­crypted com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

The launch, in the south­west­ern Gobi Desert, comes as the United States, Japan and oth­ers also seek to de­velop ap­pli­ca­tions for the bur­geon­ing tech­nol­ogy.

The satel­lite – nick­named Mi­cius af­ter a 5th-cen­tury BC Chi­nese sci­en­tist – will be used in ex­per­i­ments in­tended to prove the vi­a­bil­ity of quan­tum tech­nol­ogy to com­mu­ni­cate over long dis­tances.

Un­like tra­di­tional se­cure com­mu­ni­ca­tion meth­ods, the sys­tem uses pho­tons to send en­cryp­tion keys to de­code in­for­ma­tion.

The data con­tained in the bursts of sub­atomic par­ti­cles is im­pos­si­ble to in­ter­cept: Any at­tempts at eaves­drop­ping will cause them to self-de­struct.

While sci­en­tists have shown the trick can be used to trans­mit mes­sages over rel­a­tively short dis­tances, tech­ni­cal hur­dles have kept lon­grange com­mu­ni­ca­tion out of reach.

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