Well, it now seems that communications actually IS rocket science.
NASA launched a spacecraft yesterday morning (GMT) which will communicate by laser with ground units back on Earth. By using lasers instead of radio waves scientists hope to achieve a massive increase in data transmission rates.
This could mean more for communications professionals than first meets the eye. The most widely used communications model still tends to be the linear model developed by Wilbur Schramm in 1955 which involves a person or organisation encoding a message, sending it, and it being decoded by a receiver. Feedback is then required for the communication to become two-way, and overall effectiveness may by compromised by ‘noise’.
This model was a metaphor derived from the telephone and radio, and followed the same principles.
But what will happen if laser communication becomes the norm? Will our communication become sharply-focused, precision-guided, and be able to cut through the chaff to reach our target audience?
If the laser encounters a cloud it doesn’t work.