Chinese quantum satellite sends
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[August 12, 2017]
BEIJING (Reuters) - China has sent
an "unbreakable" code from a satellite to the Earth, marking the first
time space-to-ground quantum key distribution technology has been
realized, state media said on Thursday.
China launched the world's first quantum satellite last August, to help
establish "hack proof" communications, a development the Pentagon has
called a "notable advance".
The official Xinhua news agency said the latest experiment was published
in the journal Nature on Thursday, where reviewers called it a
The satellite sent quantum keys to ground stations in China between 645
km (400 miles) and 1,200 km (745 miles) away at a transmission rate up
to 20 orders of magnitude more efficient than an optical fiber, Xinhua
cited Pan Jianwei, lead scientist on the experiment from the state-run
Chinese Academy of Sciences, as saying.
"That, for instance, can meet the demand of making an absolute safe
phone call or transmitting a large amount of bank data," Pan said.
Any attempt to eavesdrop on the quantum channel would introduce
detectable disturbances to the system, Pan said.
"Once intercepted or measured, the quantum state of the key will change,
and the information being intercepted will self-destruct," Xinhua said.
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A computer keyboard lit by a displayed cyber code is seen in this
illustration picture taken on March 1, 2017. REUTERS/Kacper
The news agency said there were "enormous prospects" for applying
this new generation of communications in defense and finance.
China still lags behind the United States and Russia in space
technology, although President Xi Jinping has prioritized advancing
its space program, citing national security and defense.
China insists its space program is for peaceful purposes, but the
U.S. Defense Department has highlighted its increasing space
capabilities, saying it was pursuing activities aimed at preventing
adversaries from using space-based assets in a crisis.
(Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Michael Perry)
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