China “teleported” a photon from the Earth to outer space

We’ve just entered the Star Trek age where beaming things into space is real and fabulous. According to MIT’s Technology Review, the team in charge of China’s Micius satellite, which can detect the quantum states of single photons fired from the ground, has just announced the results of its first experiments and, while they don’t want to brag, they teleported a photon from the Earth to outer space for the first time *polishes fingernails on shirt, glances at Nobel committee.*

They accomplished this rather Jetsonsonian task thanks to a quantum network that connects the satellite to the ground. Physicists have been teleporting photons since they figured out they could do it thanks to the “strange phenomenon” of entanglement, which allows two quantum objects, such as photons, to share the same existence and, like all twins (or at least the ones on TV), if you do something to one of them, the other one feels it. Physicists have been tinkering with entanglement for a while, but the Micius team just set the record for the longest distance over which entanglement has been measured by sending a photon to space, aka teleportation. 

This is big news and all, but when can someone teleport a sandwich to my desk? Read the full story over at Technology Review while waiting in line for lunch, like a chump.

[Photo: Unsplash user Juskteez Vu]ML