Relay: A Laser-Based Space Communications Game

About the game

In this game you will send information, or data, back to Earth using lasers. You will use mirrors to move the laser and avoid obstacles to get the data back to Earth. Each level has new challenges and your ultimate goal is to build a communication network and synchronize, or match, the time on atomic clocks.

About the mission

Optical communication uses lasers to send data with a type of light that we can’t see, called infrared light. Since the 1950s, NASA missions have used a different type of waves, called radio waves, to send data to and from space. With current radio wave communications, it takes about nine weeks to send a complete map of Mars back to Earth. With lasers, it only takes about nine days!

Optical communication is very useful for space missions because data can be sent faster and more securely. Optical communication systems are also smaller, weigh less, and use less power. A smaller size means more room for science instruments, and using less power means less of a drain of the spacecraft’s batteries. These are all very important details for NASA when designing and creating mission concepts. To learn more, visit Laser Communications | NASA.

article last updated July 28, 2022
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