China’s space to ground key distribution system marks a significant step in quantum communication.
In a significant development, China’s state media has disclosed that the PLA has sent an “unbreakable” code from a satellite to the Earth. This space to ground key distribution technology is a significant milestone in quantum satellite communication that will make it “hack proof”.
The Pentagon described the development as a “notable advance”.
The experiment was published in China’s official Xinhua news agency where reviewers called it a “milestone”.
The Chinese satellite sent quantum keys to ground stations in China between 400 miles (645 km) and 745 miles (1,200 km) away.
The transmission rate was up to 20 orders of magnitude more efficient than an optical fiber, said Pan Jianwei, the experiment’s lead scientist from the state-run Chinese Academy of Sciences.
“That, for instance, can meet the demand of making an absolute safe phone call or transmitting a large amount of bank data,” said Pan.
An attempt to eavesdrop on the quantum channel would introduce detectable disturbances in the system, said Pan.
“Once intercepted or measured, the quantum state of the key will change, and the information being intercepted will self-destruct,” reported Xinhua.
The implications of this development are enormouse, especially in defence and finance, said the news agency.
Incidentally, China still lags behind Russia and the United States in space technology, an area Chinese president Xi Jinping has prioritized.
The U.S. Department of Defense has highlighted the country’s increasing space capabilities while adding that China was bent on preventing adversaries on using space-based assets in a crisis.