Fri, Aug 11, 2017 - Page 1 News List

China hails ‘unbreakable’ code sent from a satellite

QUANTUM LEAP:Xinhua news agency said that if the data were to be intercepted or measured, their key will change and the information would be destroyed

Reuters, BEIJING

A rocket blasts off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in China on Aug. 16 last year carrying a quantum satellite.

Photo: AFP

China has sent an “unbreakable” code from a satellite to Earth, marking the first time space-to-ground quantum key distribution technology has been realized, Chinese state media reported yesterday.

China launched the world’s first quantum satellite in August last year to help establish “hack proof” communications, a development the Pentagon has called a “notable advance.”

Xinhua news agency said the latest experiment was published in the journal Nature, where reviewers called it a “milestone.”

The satellite sent quantum keys to ground stations in China between 645km and 1,200km away at a transmission rate up to 20 orders of magnitude more efficient than an optical fiber, Xinhua quoted Pan Jianwei (潘建偉), the head of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, as saying.

“That, for instance, can meet the demand of making an absolute safe telephone 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, he said.

“Once intercepted or measured, the quantum state of the key will change and the information being intercepted will self-destruct,” Xinhua said.

Xinhua said that there were “enormous prospects” for applying this new generation of communications in defense and finance.

China still lags behind the US and Russia in space technology, although Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) has prioritized advancing the nation’s space program, citing national security and defense.

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