China's quantum satellite sends unbreakable signals

China's quantum satellite successfully sends hack-proof message

Scientists have sent the world's first quantum transmission from earth to a satellite.

The satellite, called Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS), is claimed to be the world's first of its kind, and was sent into a sun-synchronous orbit on August 16, 2016. "To increase the coverage, we plan to send satellites to higher orbits and construct a satellite constellation, which requires developing many new technologies".

Current encryption technology relies on traditional mathematics that hackers can now solve using powerful computers. "I am not aware of any specific U.S. research that focuses specifically on ground-to-satellite quantum teleportation, [although] there have been experiments demonstrating quantum teleportation and pushing the limits of distance".

Chinese researchers just made another quantum breakthrough when they were able to transmit what appears to be the world's first "unhackable" code.

. However, the complete global quantum network communication is still to be achieved. However, using relay stations (which need to decrypt and reencrypt the signal because of the quantum nature) opens up the risk that the station has been compromised and could be intercepted in an unencrypted state. QKD uses photons to transmit data, allowing two users in different places to, together, produce a common string of random bits called a secret key.

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Xinhua quoted Pan Jianwei, lead scientist of the project QUESS and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), saying the satellite sent quantum keys to ground stations in Xinglong, in north China's Hebei Province, and Nanshan near Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

"Satellite-based quantum key distribution can be linked to metropolitan quantum networks where fibres are sufficient and convenient to connect numerous users within a city over 100 km. We can thus envision a space-ground integrated quantum network, enabling quantum cryptography- most likely the first commercial application of quantum information- useful at a global scale".

China has taken a major step forward in its pursuit of a hack-proof communication network.

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