A group of Chinese researchers announced Monday that they successfully “teleported” an object from Earth to space for the first time in history. The researchers also beat their previous teleportation distance record. Their findings were published Monday on the arXiv physics server.
The team was able to teleport a photon from a station in the Tibetan mountains to a Chinese satellite orbiting space, called Micius, at a distance of 500 km. The researchers based on the principle of quantum entanglement, which states that if two protons are created at the same moment, they are forever “entangled,” and whatever happens to one happens to the other at the same time.
The phenomenon has been referred to as “spooky action at a distance” by scientists.
Chinese researchers ‘teleported’ particle of light to space at 500 km
The Chinese research team part of the Micius project had already successfully sent a proton at a distance 100 km. Their early findings demonstrating quantum entanglement were reported about a month ago.
However, their newest accomplishment had never seen before on Earth, as they were able to teleport an “object” into space. Of course, the principle of quantum entanglement dictates that there isn’t an actual material teleportation, but rather a mimicking effect on the protons.
What the study means by “teleportation” is to make one proton take all the information of its linked counterpart; and the receiving particle becomes the same object as the first, even though they are in different places. The researchers were sending information about a particle of light in a way that can only be accessed by two observers.
“This work establishes the first ground-to-satellite uplink for faithful and ultra-long distance quantum teleportation, an essential step toward global-scale quantum internet,” wrote the researchers in their study, according to Gizmodo.
More experiment and studies are needed to comprehend how to apply quantum entanglement to existing technologies, but the researchers and some experts believe the phenomenon will eventually help create a safe and encrypted internet.
Quantum entanglement could one day allow communications from vast distances in space
The Micius satellite was launched last summer from China, designed to test communications based on quantum mechanics. Some scientists had already succeeded in teleportation, although from short distances and always between ground stations.
Quantum entanglement, many experts believe, is the new frontier of modern scientific research. The Micius project’s achievements are of particular importance because the Chinese researchers are the first to experiment with quantum entanglement outside of a controlled environment. As their research continues, they will look how to give the phenomenon real world applications.
Also, with the discovery, China places itself in front of the U.S. as the first nation making breakthroughs in quantum entanglement research. Scientists hope that quantum entanglement will someday make it possible to communicate across long distances without any delay, making manned missions to other planets easier to control.