It's a major breakthrough that could lead to impossible to crack encryption methods and totally secure communications.
A significant accomplishment out of China could change the way future communications are encrypted. The country successfully sent “hack-proof” messages from a satellite to the Earth for the very first time via the Micius satellite, which beamed the messages to two different receiving stations.
The message was sent via quantum physics, which means that if anyone were to eavesdrop on the communications, it would result in detectable changes and alert the receiver and sender that the communication had been compromised.
The system works by something called “entangled photons,” which are sub-atomic particles of lights that despite being many miles apart, are fundamentally tied to each other. Any attempt to measure their key properties changes them, and by encoding a key to encrypt the data with entangled photons, it’s possible to send messages with 100 percent confidence that they have not been interfered with.
“A team of Chinese scientists has realized the satellite-based distribution of entangled photon pairs over 1200 km,” reads a June statement from the University of Science and Technology of China. “The photon pairs were demonstrated to be still entangled after travelling long distances and Bell’s inequality was shown to be violated under strict Einstein locality conditions. This experiment was made through two satellite-to-ground downlinks with a summed length varying from 1600-2400 km. The obtained link efficiency is orders of magnitude higher than that of the direct bidirectional transmission of two photons through telecommunication fibers. Quantum communication scientists have a fundamental interest in distributing entangled particles over increasingly long distances and studying the behavior of entanglement under extreme conditions. So far, entanglement distribution has only been achieved at a distance up to ~100 km due to photon loss in optical fibers or terrestrial free space.”