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January 18 2013

We Just Sent the Mona Lisa to the Moon ... With Lasers


The first time anyone has achieved one-way laser communication at planetary distances

Since mid-2009, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has been, as its name would suggest, circling the moon. As its name would also suggest, the little satellite -- skimming the lunar service at a distance of 31 miles -- is also doing some scouting on our behalf: In its two-and-a-half years of lunar orbit, the satellite has created valuable gravitational maps of the moon, documented the trash humans have left on the lunar surface, and otherwise increased our knowledge about our nearest planetary neighbor.

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