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China to launch ‘hack-proof’ quantum satellite next monthStephen Chen05 July 2016China will launch the world’s first quantum satellite next month to demonstrate a series of advanced technologies such as hacker-proof communications and quantum teleportation.Ground testing and quality checks on the satellite had finished at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and it would depart for the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in Inner Mongolia early this month for a launch aboard a Long March 2D rocket in the middle of next month, according to a report on the central government’s website posted on Friday.The project has drawn attention from scientists and governments around the world because it could provide solutions to some significant problems. With the rapid advancement of quantum technology in recent years, it is widely believed that quantum computers will soon be available but such a computer would be so powerful, it could crack every encryption method currently in use.The only way to ensure communications remain secure in the coming technological era is by using a quantum network. This could defy eavesdropping attempts by making use of a fundamental law of quantum physics – that the information carried in the quantum state of a particle cannot be measured or cloned without destroying the information itself.Researchers have already established land-based quantum networks up to 1,000km in length but the quantum satellite aims for a loftier goal. It would establish a link between China and Europe to prove that a global scale network, or quantum internet, is feasible.If the technology works, it would find immediate applications in the government and military. Beijing could communicate with a nuclear submarine far away in the Pacific via a quantum satellite without worrying the information could be deciphered by a third party.Researchers also hope to shed light on the ghostly phenomenon of quantum entanglement. It states that particles can be connected in a way so that changing the state of one instantly affects the other, even when they are far apart.On the ground, scientists have achieved quantum entanglement at the distance of 100km, but the quantum satellite would send the experiment into outer space.Entanglement technology would allow information to travel at speeds greater than light without the need of any physical medium between the sender and receiver, and make interstellar or intergalactic communication as easy as making a phone call on earth.
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