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Instant Messaging With Neutrinos 262

An anonymous reader writes "A group of scientists has for the first time sent a message using a beam of neutrinos – nearly massless particles that travel at almost the speed of light. The message was sent through 240 meters of stone and said simply, 'Neutrino.' From the article: 'Many have theorized about the possible uses of neutrinos in communication because of one particularly valuable property: they can penetrate almost anything they encounter. If this technology could be applied to submarines, for instance, then they could conceivably communicate over long distances through water, which is difficult, if not impossible, with present technology. And if we wanted to communicate with something in outer space that was on the far side of a moon or a planet, our message could travel straight through without impediment.'"
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Instant Messaging With Neutrinos

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  • Yeah, OK , so ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:22AM (#39361219)
    If you can do that, well, that just means you can now detect a sub's nuclear reactor super-easy. Don't they give off neutrinos?
  • by Beelzebud ( 1361137 ) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @01:24AM (#39361229)
    I'm not sure, but it does illustrate the challenges SETI faces.
  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @02:19AM (#39361441) Journal

    There are already undersea cables which exist for the sole purpose of reducing latency between NY and UK stock exchanges.

    What a waste of effort and resources.

  • Re:Dead link (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RsG ( 809189 ) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @03:15AM (#39361615)

    I doubt we'd use them in general communication applications anyway, for the simple reason that what we have right now isn't broken, and thus doesn't need to be fixed. Hell, if we're still using telephone wires in 2012, good money is on there still being cell towers in 2112.

    They mention submarine communications, and that upon reflection makes absolutely perfect sense to me. Subs are hard to reach with radio (baring ELF radio, which is a pain in the ass). Likewise, if we ever found it necessary to communicate with man made objects deep beneath the earth, neutrino communicators would make sense.

    Space based communication is also mentioned, and that struck me as a little more suspect. Vacuum is the one environment where you can use practically anything to talk, and line of sight is rarely an issue when the objects in the way are tiny compared to the distances involved. How often do astronomical bodies get in the way, and wouldn't it be simpler to use a relay for the rare occasions when they do?

  • Re:Dead link (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Raenex ( 947668 ) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @03:29AM (#39361683)

    I doubt we'd use them in general communication applications anyway, for the simple reason that what we have right now isn't broken, and thus doesn't need to be fixed.

    If it was actually feasible, it would be very useful for intercontinental telecommunication. Current methods are both expensive and have high latencies (either satellite or laying fiber across ocean floors).

  • by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @06:17AM (#39362193)
    Not many people realise just how much empty space their is "inside" an atom.
  • Re:Dead link (Score:5, Insightful)

    by izomiac ( 815208 ) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @08:10AM (#39362567) Homepage
    I'm not sure if "benefit" is the right word... Being able to detect neutrinos (and subsequently the sub) might be the end for nuclear powered submarines.
  • by necro81 ( 917438 ) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @08:30AM (#39362655) Journal

    It sure can become much more efficient than the idiotic cables that build the Internet today

    Compared to reconstructing the our communications network using ephemeral particles that can barely be detected, that require billion-dollar particle accelerators to create, and are easily drowned out by the deluge of neutrinos ejected by the Sun, yes, cables are stupid, as in stupidly easy.

  • by subreality ( 157447 ) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @11:58AM (#39365125)

    more like underwater city and moon colony

    ... or mid-size financial institution, trying to achieve slightly more efficient arbitrage by communicating market data from one side of the earth to the other a few milliseconds faster by going through instead of around.

    Just suggest it to them and they'll have it in mass production next month and be working on compact, cost-reduced versions in a year.

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