Quantum Keys Exchanged Between Plane and Ground
Earlier this month it was reported that researchers had set a new record for the longest distance quantum teleportation had been achieved at. If the lasers involved were aimed to the sky, instead of to another point on land, that record distance of 143 Km would not quite reach to the lowest satellites, but that is the ultimate goal. Someday researchers want to connect satellites to the ground with a quantum Internet and thanks to another experiment, that day is even closer.
Researchers at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich have successfully exchanged quantum keys with a plane in flight. For ten minutes the researchers used mirrors on the ground and the plane to beam a long enough key to encode 10 KB, while the plane was moving at 300 Km/hr. Quantum encryption uses those quantum keys to secure data in such a way that if anyone tries to intercept the key, the intended sender and receiver are aware of it.
It will be interesting to see how this system is improved as exchanging keys between a plane is a simple task compared to sharing them with a satellite. However, with improvements to make this more practical, this system could also be used to connect aerial drones, like those already used by some militaries.