CBS Local — For the first time ever, scientists have successfully teleported an object into space.
In a major breakthrough for quantum physics, the experiment involved Chinese scientists who sent a photon into Earth’s orbit, the longest distance that scientists have been able to accomplish.
Rather than actually transporting the object itself over long distances, the type of teleportation that the researchers used involves “quantum entanglement.” This allows information about the object to be transferred to another point in space, creating a faithful replication of the object instead of physically transporting it elsewhere.
The new research marks the first time that quantum entanglement has been successfully tested over a long distance. The results could usher in new technology, such as a quantum internet that would connect different parts of the world with seemingly impossible speed, the researchers say in their paper.
“This work establishes the first ground-to-satellite uplink for faithful and ultra-long-distance quantum teleportation, an essential step toward global-scale quantum internet,” the scientists write.
In the experiment, the scientists teleported information up to an Earth-orbiting satellite. This method is likely to become the way teleportation occurs in practice: sending information about objects up to a satellite in space, and then back down to another point on Earth.
Described as “spooky action at a distance” by Albert Einstein, quantum entanglement is not constrained by distance and can allow two particles to instantly interact despite being extremely far apart physically.
Teleportation experiments have previously been restricted to shorter distances due to problems with signals and wires that carry information – until now.