China is set to launch the world’s first quantum communication satellite which boasts of hack-proof ultrahigh security features to prevent wiretapping and intercepts.
If the satellite works well, it will pave the way to a hack-proof communication system, state-run Xinhua news agency reported today.
The satellite will be launched in a matter of days, it said. The satellite has been named “Micius” after a fifth century BC Chinese scientist, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) said.
According to CAS, the quantum satellite will conduct experiments on high-speed quantum key distribution between the satellite and ground stations, as well as explore quantum teleportation for the first time in the world.
In July 2015, a quantum-computing lab jointly established by Chinese Academy of Science and Chinese Internet giant Alibaba opened in Shanghai.
The lab is expected to produce a general-purpose quantum computer prototype with 50 to 100 quantum bits by 2030.
Such powerful computing ability is also viewed as a threat in that it could make everything on a conventional computer hackable.
However, like a coin with two sides, quantum mechanics also serves as protector of information.
Quantum key technology boasts ultra-high security as a photon can be neither separated nor duplicated, so it is impossible to wiretap or intercept the information transmitting through it, the report said.
Moreover, it has the ability to inform the two communicating users of the presence of any third party trying to eavesdrop.
At the same time, the information being intercepted would “collapse” or self-destruct, it said.
China will complete and put into operation the world’s first secure quantum communication backbone network, the Beijing-Shanghai backbone network, later this year, Pan Jianwei, academician of Chinese Academy of Science and chief scientist of quantum communication satellite project said.
“Just like the Galileo satellites and Kepler telescopes, we used the name of a famous scholar for our first quantum satellite. We hope this will promote and boost confidence in Chinese culture,” said Pan. The 2,000-kilometer backbone network will be used in the fields of finance, electronics and government affairs.
The satellite and the ground-based network will ensure the secure passage of information, Pan said. Pan reckoned that quantum communication will enter everyday life in about 10 years, securing online banking and payments