A recent experiment in quantum teleportation has set a new distance record. Does it mean that we are one step closer to a real-life Star Trek?
While the teleportation of matter is impossible with the current technology (so, unfortunately, at the moment we are not talking about Star Trek’s ‘beaming up’ of people), scientists can teleport information. In particular, it’s the so-called quantum state of an object that gets teleported, which allows to recreate exactly the same object somewhere else. This possibility relies on the controversial theory of quantum physics, according to which the fundamental building blocks of the universe can exist in two or more places simultaneously.
The reality of quantum teleportation is based on a strange phenomenon called quantum entanglement. It occurs when a pair of particles acts like a single entity when subjected to a variety of impacts. Changing the state of one of the particles entangled at the quantum level instantly triggers the change in the second particle’s state, which, in theory, can be located at any distance from the first one – even on the other side of the universe. We don’t fully understand the mechanisms behind this phenomenon because of the difficulty in measuring the particles’ states – measuring one immediately affects the state of the other.
The New Distance Record
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) managed to teleport photons carrying quantum information over 63 miles (102 kilometers) of optical fiber, a distance that is four times greater than the one achieved in the previous record-breaking experiment. The results were published in the journal Optica.
The successful outcome of the experiment became possible thanks to advanced single-photon detectors, the work of which is based on superconducting wires of molybdenum silicide. Their properties allow them to record more than 80% of arriving photons while the previous experiments only reached up to 75% efficiency. The detectors were cooled to nearly 457 degrees Fahrenheit (272 degrees Celsius) below zero. The experiment was focused on a near-infrared wavelength, which is used in telecommunications.
“Only about 1 percent of photons make it all the way through 100 kilometers (60 miles) of fiber,” study co-author Martin Stevens said in a press release. “We never could have done this experiment without these new detectors, which can measure this incredibly weak signal.”
The next step is the development of even more advanced single-photon detectors, which could allow a further increase in the distance for quantum teleportation, the researchers said.
This new quantum teleportation technique could contribute to the creation of the devices called quantum repeaters, which, in turn, could pave the way for a quantum Internet. Unlike modern communications, this type of Internet connection would offer the total security of the transferred data.
“A quantum Internet could allow you to establish communications channels that are much more secure than what we have with the standard encryption protocols we use everyday nowadays,” Stevens said.
With further breakthroughs in quantum teleportation, which have become quite frequent in the recent years, we could soon see the quantum Internet and other amazing technological advances become a reality.
3D-Printed ‘Suicide Pod’ Gets Legal Approval in Switzerland, Could Roll Out In 2022
Switzerland is among a small group of countries, mainly in Europe, that allows for people to end their own lives under strict provisions through the assistance of a licensed physician.
However, one company in the Alpine nation is hoping to streamline legalized euthanasia by removing doctors from the process through a new invention that allows people to end their own lives quickly and painlessly. And now, the device has passed an important review by Swiss legal authorities.
Nonprofit company Exit International has produced a 3D-printed suicide chamber dubbed the “Sarco,” reports Swiss Broadcasting Corporation. The 21st-century sarcophagus-like machine could roll out as soon as 2022.
Those faced with terminal disease and other excruciating physical conditions, as well as severe psychological pain, will be able to make a clean exit from this mortal coil by lying comfortably inside the small chamber. At the press of a button, the chamber will then fill with nitrogen gas, depriving them of oxygen and terminating their life in 30 seconds.
“There is no panic, no choking feeling,” said Philip Nitschke, the nonprofit’s founder who has been dubbed “Dr. Death” by media.
The chamber is also easy to transport, allowing people to end their lives wherever they choose – be it in a cabin in the forest, at the beach, or anywhere else they might choose.
The device is controversial, however, due to the fact that it removes medical professionals from the process of euthanasia. However, Exit International hopes that it can develop an AI-assisted online exam that can gauge the mental acuity of those who wish to use Sarco.
“We want to remove any kind of psychiatric review from the process and allow the individual to control the method themselves,” Nitschke explained.
If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide and live in the United States, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). You can find a list of helpful resources at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources. Resources in other countries can be found here.
Chinese Military Satellite Smashed by Russian Rocket in “Major Confirmed Orbital Collision”
In an incident that is likely illustrative of things to come, Chinese military satellite 1-02 was smashed after it appears to have collided into the debris from a disintegrating Russian rocket.
The collision, which occurred earlier this year, shows the increasing danger of space junk such as satellite parts and other miscellaneous jetsam littering the Earth’s orbit. An estimated 8,000 metric tons of space debris pose the risk of destroying functional equipment such as weather forecasting systems, telecoms and GPS systems – and even manned space travel missions – if the problem isn’t reined in.
The fate of the Chinese satellite was uncovered by Harvard astrophysicist and satellite tracker Jonathan McDowell.
The breakup of Yunhai 1-02 was initially reported by the U.S. Space Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron (18SPCS). However, it wasn’t until recently that McDowell found out what caused the breakup.
The astrophysicist soon found that it was destroyed by space junk that originated from a Russian Zenit-2 rocket that had launched a spy satellite in 1996. On Aug. 14, McDowell found a strange entry in a database on Space-Track.org: “Collided with satellite.”
“This is a new kind of comment entry — haven’t seen such a comment for any other satellites before,” McDowell tweeted.
“A quick analysis of the TLEs show that Yunhai 1-02 (44547) and [the debris object] passed within 1 km of each other (so within the uncertainty of the TLEs) at 0741 UTC Mar 18, exactly when 18SPCS reports Yunhai broke up,” he added, noting that this “looks to be the first major confirmed orbital collision in a decade.”
However, the Yunhai satellite still remains functional and is transmitting radio signals, notes Space.com.
The incident shows the growing likelihood of such collisions in the high-traffic, littered near-Earth orbital zone.
“Collisions are proportional to the square of the number of things in orbit,” McDowell explained. “That is to say, if you have 10 times as many satellites, you’re going to get 100 times as many collisions.”
He added: “So, as the traffic density goes up, collisions are going to go from being a minor constituent of the space junk problem to being the major constituent. That’s just math.”
A worst-case scenario of such collisions is known as the “Kessler Syndrome,” and describes the possibility of one collision setting in motion a chain of collisions. Such a disaster was the premise of the 2013 film “Gravity.”
One hopes that things don’t reach that point.
In the meantime, however, there have been a number of initiatives meant to tackle the growing problem of space debris, such as the ELSA-d spacecraft launched in a demonstration mission earlier this year.
Boston Dynamics Drops New Video Of 5-Foot Atlas Humanoid Robot Effortlessly Doing Parkour
Robot maker Boston Dynamics has released new video of its two-legged Atlas robot effortlessly completing a parkour obstacle course, offering a new display of its humanoid machines’ unsettling repertoire.
In the video, a pair of Atlas robots can be seen leaping over large gaps, vaulting beams, and even performing backflips. The robot can even be seen jumping over a board while using its arm to remain steady.
While the display seems like anything but “free” running – as the original developers of parkour had envisioned – the routine does seem like an impressive, if terrifying, display of effective coding that took months to perfect, according to the Hyundai-owned robotics firm.
“It’s not the robot just magically deciding to do parkour, it’s kind of a choreographed routine, much like a skateboard video or a parkour video,” said Atlas control lead Benjamin Stephens.
See for yourself:
Unlike its robotic dog Spot, which controversially hit New York City streets last year before being pulled, Atlas isn’t a production robot. Instead, it’s a research model meant to see how far the limits of robotics can be pushed.
In the past, Boston Dynamics has displayed the robot’s feats with videos of Atlas jogging and even busting out some cool dance moves.
Team lead Scott Kuindersma said in a statement that in about two decades, we can expect to coexist with robots that move “with grace, reliability, and work alongside humans to enrich our lives.”
Until then, some of us will continue to reserve our right to feel a bit queasy about the prospect of people being chased down by these skilled free-running (and dancing) machines.
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