The world’s nations have been in a silent race to develop a large scale quantum network. And as it is with all things big, China seems to have beaten them to the punch.
China is set to launch the world’s first quantum satellite next month to demonstrate a series of advanced technologies such as hacker-proof communications.
It has just passed ground testing and quality checks at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and is slated to depart for the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in Inner Mongolia early this month for a launch aboard a Long March 2D rocket in the middle of August.
The satellite will be China’s key to a global quantum network, which will give Beijing an unprecedented edge in communications security.
The coming dawn of the quantum computer has signaled fear in communications networks, as such a device could theoretically be powerful enough to crack every encryption method currently in use.
The solution would be quantum networks: networks that rely on the fragile quantum state. Any attempt to copy, clone, or even measure the quantum state of a particle would result to a change in that state, erasing the information in the process.
So why is this not more of a thing? Researchers have already established land-based quantum networks up to 1,000km in length. China’s satellite would extend this, establishing a quantum link between China and Europe, and proving the feasibility of a global quantum Internet.
The satellite can also be used for experiments in other fields. It may be used in experiments on the quantum state in outer space, which could help decipher how quantum entanglement would work in such a setting.