Strategic Alliance


The Australian Centre for Space Photonics

Raison d'etre

To expand unique Australian capabilities and experience to progress research into key technologies for an interplanetary high-data rate optical communications link that are synergistic with near term space communication needs.

System Concept - a telescope with laser transmitter in Mars orbit, comparable in size to the Hubble Space Telescope, acts as a communications relay for Mars probes to send their data back to earth at high data rates in a beam of light. A receiving station might be on the Earth's surface as shown here, or in Earth orbit. Image assembled using photos of planets from NASA's photojournal. (higher resolution version here, and of a space-based receiver concept here)

Investigate it yourself - javascript system model

Read the story

Why lasers? - an explanation for non-scientists

Why lasers? - an explanation for scientists

Related Publications

  • Powerpoint presentation for the National Space Society of Australia, Powerhouse Museum, 14 October 2003. (3.5MB)
  • 26 July '02 paper in 'Science' about the need for optical communications in space (Available online)
  • Paper in 'Astrophysical Journal' about the need for optical communications in space (Available online)
  • Powerpoint presentation for the 2nd Australian Space Science Workshop, July 2002. (850KB)
  • Presentation 1 (Andrew McGrath) and Presentation 2 (Jeremy Bailey) for the ATNF engineering seminar, December 2002. (1MB and 83kB Powerpoint files respectively)

Recent media reports

Originally created by Andrew McGrath on July 10, 2002