The next time you start whining about the sluggish Internet service you get from the cable company, consider relocating to the Moon for their super speedy Wi-Fi.
Scientists from NASA and MIT recently demonstrated the connection, which uses Earthbound telescopes to beam infrared pulses to a satellite orbiting the Moon. Upload speeds from the Moon back to Earth turned out to be a whopping 622 Mbps, faster than just about any broadband connection available on Earth. Going the other way, download speeds from the Earth to the Moon were a bit slower, clocking in at 19.44 Mbps. That might not impress a kid from South Korea, but it is faster than the average "broadband" speed here in the USA.
Still, it's plenty fast enough so you could stream Gravity on Netflix while sitting on the Moon, helping you to get psyched up for the trip home. Not bad for a signal that has to travel 238,900 miles.
Getting the signal through the Earth's atmosphere is difficult, so the scientists used four separate infrared telescopes in New Mexico to send out the signals. This improves the chances that at least one of the signals will hit the intended satellite. It's kind of like the space version of those Wi-Fi routers with multiple antennas, and the way they can improve the quality of your connection.
Just why the Moon needs Internet isn't really clear, especially as there haven't been any humans on the lunar surface since 1972. Perhaps if the link had been established a few months earlier, China's Jade Rabbit lunar rover could have posted a few lunar selfies and its sad dying message on its Facebook page via Wi-Fi.
The MIT and NASA scientists will give a formal presentation of their findings at the CLEO laser technology conference in California on June 2.