(Image Source: The University of Rochester)
BY GINA COOK
ANCHOR EMILY SPAIN
Text messaging with neutrinos? That’s what scientists are saying could be in our future now that they’ve sent a message through 780 feet of stone using the subatomic particles.
Live Science explains the process of sending the message.
“...researchers turned their neutrino beam on and off in the fashion of a binary system of 1's and 0's used by computers to encapsulate information... To make a 1, the scientists turned the neutrino beam on and let it send its signal to the detector. To make a zero, they stopped the beam, losing a pulse. Thus they were able to spell out ‘neutrino’ in a way that could be read by scientists at the detector.”
Why do you care? Because neutrinos can travel through pretty much anything — and that could mean better, faster communication--without the use of satellites and wires.
In The University of Rochester’s press release, a scientist says,
“Using neutrinos, it would be possible to communicate between any two points on Earth without using satellites or cables. Neutrino communication systems would be much more complicated than today's systems, but may have important strategic uses.”
And ZDNet says,
“With their neutral electric charge and almost non-existent mass, neutrinos are not subject to magnetic attractions and are not significantly altered by gravity, so they are virtually free of any possible interference...”
But Geekosystem says the capability of neutrinos to travel through anything might be a downfall.
‘Now that could be a double-edged sword if you’re in the market of trying to block signals and communication for whatever reason, but for most of us it would just be heavenly.”
Scientists say they had to fire the neutrinos in large groups because only about 1 in 10 billion of the tiny particles are detected. One factor in their favor was that they used the world’s largest particle accelerator and underground neutrino detectors at the Fermi National Accelerator Lab outside of Chicago.
A writer for Government Computer News says that’s why the technology won’t be practical for many more years.
“Given the vastly increased complexity (and cost) of the infrastructure that would be necessary for this type of communication, don’t expect it to totally replace satellites any time soon. But this experiment is definitely a first step toward this end.”
The State Column is already imagining the possibilities neutrino messages.
“Neutrino communication could also have significant implications for the military. The ability to communicate messages over long distances through solid materials and liquids could be an important tool...”
One of those tools being considered is using neutrinos for communicating through water to submarines, which the scientists say is hard to do with current technology.