With the use of the satellite, Chinese researchers at the Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS) project, were able to transmit secret messages from space to earth at a further distance than ever before. The goal is to create an even broad, secure network, potentially linking people anywhere in the world. "To increase the coverage, we plan to send satellites to higher orbits and construct a satellite constellation, which requires developing many new technologies". Quantum-based computing is secure and relies on laws of physics instead of mathematical encryption.
The satellite sent quantum keys to ground stations in Xinglong, in north China's Hebei province, and Nanshan, near Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur region, saidPan Jianwei, lead scientist of QUESS and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
They explained that any attempt to eavesdrop on the quantum channel would introduce detectable disturbances to the system, and if intercepted or measured, the quantum state of the key will change - causing the intercepted data to "self-destruct".
China still lags behind the United States and Russian Federation in space technology, although President Xi Jinping has prioritized advancing its space program, citing national security and defense. By 2030, China hopes to achieve its ambitious dream of establishing a global cryptography-based communication network. "We can thus envision a space-ground integrated quantum network, enabling quantum cryptography - most likely the first commercial application of quantum information - useful at a global scale", Pan said.
Will quantum key distribution make computer network communication safer for everyone or it will just be another tool that can be exploited by a few powerful entities for their personal gains?
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