Scientists successfully achieved earth-to-space quantum teleportation, but what exactly does that mean?

SeekerPublished: July 10, 2018Updated: July 11, 2018
Published: July 10, 2018Updated: July 11, 2018

Quantum teleportation to space has finally been done successfully. Which is super exciting, but it's quantum -- which means we didn't teleport a thing per se, but some data. Basically, Chinese scientists beamed photons from the ground to a satellite orbiting above the Earth; then they messed with them using quantum entanglement.

Entanglement, we've talked about before, Einstein called it "spooky action at a distance." It happens when you have two particles, usually photons, that are created together. They're like twins, and their twinning can stretch across space and time.

Because they were entangled, when the scientists observed the spin of the Earth-photons they could also know the spin of the photons in space too! They spin in the exact same way! Even though there's no physical connection between the two, they're just... mimicking each other. How? No one knows.

In this case, the Chinese satellite was capable of sensing the quantum state of the photons, so they could prove that the photons were entangled.  Even across a vast distance!

 

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