China launched the world’s first quantum satellite

Q.  Which country launched the world’s first quantum satellite on 16th August 2016?
- Published on 18 Aug 16

a. China
b. Japan
c. Indonesia
d. Philippines

China launched the world’s first quantum satellite on 16th August according to state media; the aim was to harness the power of particle physics to build an unhackable system of encrypted communication.
  • Launch was from south-western Gobi Desert and comes at a time with countries like US and Japan also seeking to develop applications for the technology.
  • Satellite has been called Micius after a fifth century BC Chinese philosopher and scientists.
  • It will be used in experiments to prove the viability of quantum technology to communicate over massive distances.
  • Beijing has invested a lot in this research; China being the world’s second largest economy has pursued advanced scientific research in areas ranging from genetic manipulation to asteroid mining.
  • Meanwhile ISRO has begun the countdown for the launch of 20 satellites.
  • Research by China also seeks to study quantum entanglement, an unusual property of subatomic particles.
  • Term describes Albert Einstein’s description of how particles exert influence on each other at distances including ability of paired particles to mirror each other at speeds faster than light.
  • Unlike traditional secure communication systems, China’s proposed method uses photons to send the encryption keys needed to decode information.
  • Data contained in subatomic particle bursts is impossible to intercept; Why so? Because any attempt to tap them will cause them to self destruct letting users know their communication has been compromised.
  • Scientists have shown that this can be used to transmit information across as much as 300 km.
  • The satellite will also aim to send secure messages between Beijing and Urumqi and developing the new technology is a major goal for Beijing which included this in the recent 5 year plan.
  • Beijing had previously identified the development of quantum technology as a national priority.
  • China is also working on world’s first quantum computer which uses subatomic particles properties in processors to operate at speeds far higher than current technologies permit.

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