Source
Scholastic News Online

Scholastic News Online is a free resource with breaking news and highlights from the print magazine.

Available for grades 1-6, Scholastic News magazine brings high-interest current events and nonfiction to millions of classrooms each week.

Additionally, our subscribers have FREE access to Scholastic News Interactive, an exclusive online learning tool featuring digital editions, videos, interactive features, differentiated articles, and much more.


Composite of the <i>Mona Lisa</i> on the moon. The image of the Mona Lisa traveled nearly 240,000 miles to a satellite that was orbiting the moon. (MOON: John Lund/Stephanie Roeser/Blend Images/Corbis; MONA LISA: Louvre, Paris, France / Giraudon / The Bridgeman Art Library)

Mona Lisa on the Moon

NASA uses a laser beam to transmit an image of the famous painting into outer space

By Jennifer Marino Walters | January 23 , 2013
<p> TOP: Leonardo Da Vinci painted the <i>Mona Lisa</i> in the early 1500s. (Louvre, Paris, France / Giraudon / The Bridgeman Art Library)</p><p> BOTTOM: The laser transmitted the painting in small sections using separate laser pulses. (Xiaoli Sun, NASA Goddard ) </p>

TOP: Leonardo Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa in the early 1500s. (Louvre, Paris, France / Giraudon / The Bridgeman Art Library)

BOTTOM: The laser transmitted the painting in small sections using separate laser pulses. (Xiaoli Sun, NASA Goddard )

The Mona Lisa is one of the most famous paintings on Earth. But last week, the painting reached new heights—in outer space!

Using a laser, the space agency NASA beamed a digital image of the Mona Lisa to a human-made satellite orbiting the moon. The image traveled nearly 240,000 miles from NASA’S Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, to the satellite, named the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).

“This is the first time anyone has achieved one-way laser communication at planetary distances,” says David Smith of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Satellites beyond Earth’s orbit typically use radio waves for tracking and communication. The LRO is the only one that is also tracked by laser.

Because of the success of the Mona Lisa experiment, Smith says laser communication may someday be used as a backup for satellites’ radio communication. Laser communication could also help speed the delivery of data from outer space and could one day bring live, high-definition video feeds from satellites throughout the solar system.

TO THE MOON AND BACK

The Mona Lisa was painted in the early 1500s by Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci. To transmit an image of it to the satellite,  NASA scientists divided it into sections measuring 150 by 200 pixels. They then sent the pixellated sections to the satellite using laser pulses. The satellite received the image in pieces and reconstructed it based on the arrival times of the laser pulses. Then it sent the image back to Earth using radio waves.

The image wasn’t perfect when it arrived at the LRO because Earth’s atmosphere caused transmission errors. But scientists were able to fix the errors using the same type of error-correction code found in CDs and DVDs.

The LRO has been orbiting the moon since 2009. NASA’s next moon mission will feature a high-speed laser communication system called the Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration (LLCD). NASA says the Mona Lisa experiment has set the stage for LLCD.

  • Scholastic Store
  • The Scholastic Store  
    Chronicles of the Moon #4: Legend of the Golden Elephant (EBK)

    Chronicles of the Moon #4: Legend of the Golden Elephant (EBK)

    by Jones, Allan, F.

    In India, beyond the Elephant Falls, the search for the fourth talisman is under way. Experts from all over the world are discussing the whereabouts of the Elephant of Parvati;a golden statue that has been lost for millennia. Olly and Josh have an idea of how to find the artifact, but they are just one step behind. Can they unravel the puzzle first;and find the talisman?

    Olivia Christie and Josh Wells are in the middle of one of the greatest archaeological adventures of modern times. They are traveling the world with Olly's father, Professor Christie, searching for the sacred Talismans of the Moon;the keys to the ancient world. Follow their amazing adventures in this series that's perfect for fans of the Magic Tree House books.

    About the Author:
    Allan Frewin Jones has always believed in the existence of "other worlds" that we could just step in and out of if only we knew the way. In the Mortal World, Frewin lives in southeast London with two mystical cats named Merle Oberon and Siouxsie Sioux.

    $4.45 You save: 11%
    books;ebooks;ebooks | Ages 9-12
    Add To Cart
    Chronicles of the Moon #4: Legend of the Golden Elephant (EBK)
    Ages 9-12 $4.45
  • Scholastic Store
  • The Scholastic Store  
    Chronicles of the Moon #3: The Legend of the Anaconda King  (EBK)

    Chronicles of the Moon #3: The Legend of the Anaconda King (EBK)

    by Jones, Allan, F.

    Olly and Josh must travel to the rain forests of South America. There, the two friends, along with Jonathan and Professor Christie, try to prevent the Amulet of Quilla from falling into the wrong hands.

    Olivia Christie and Josh Wells are in the middle of one of the greatest archaeological adventures of modern times. They are traveling the world with Olly's father, Professor Christie, searching for the sacred Talismans of the Moon—the keys to the ancient world. Follow their amazing adventures in this series that's perfect for fans of the Magic Tree House books.

    About the Author:
    Allan Frewin Jones has always believed in the existence of "other worlds" that we could just step in and out of if only we knew the way. In the Mortal World, Frewin lives in southeast London with two mystical cats named Merle Oberon and Siouxsie Sioux.

    $4.45 You save: 11%
    books;ebooks;ebooks | Ages 9-12
    Add To Cart
    Chronicles of the Moon #3: The Legend of the Anaconda King (EBK)
    Ages 9-12 $4.45
Privacy Policy
EMAIL THIS

* YOUR FIRST NAME ONLY

* FRIEND'S FIRST NAME ONLY

* FRIEND'S EMAIL ADDRESS

MESSAGE
Here's something interesting from Scholastic.com