Stevens is part of research team at MIT that broke the networking speed record from the earth to the moon this past fall, demonstrating a 19.44-megabits-per-second connection between a ground terminal at NASA's White Sands, New Mexico facility and a probe orbiting the moon 380,000 kilometers away. That's 4,800 times faster than the previous record, and it means he can send stuff to the moon in much the same way Netflix sends stuff to your home. His team simultaneously transmitted four streams of high-def video to the satellite not to mention some files, photos, and all the right satellite commands, Stevens says. Now the team is finally talking about how they did it.
You can think about this as one really big Wi-Fi connection. No, astronauts can't use it to watch Netflix from the surface of the moon. But the technology could soon send scientific research data between earth and the moon far more quickly. It could help astronauts and scientists living and working on space stations maintain better contact with family down here. And there's no reason it couldn't beam up their favorite TV shows too.