Quantum Radar

Quantum Computing is about to upend our Digital Privacy, but I only just learned Quantum Algorithms will do the same for Military Stealth too…

Currently, stealth works in a couple of basic ways:

  1. Minimising the reflected radar signal.
  2. Sending back a fake signal.
  3. Messing with the electronic brain of the radar system (but this is more electronic warfare than stealth).

For a radar system, both 1 and 2 can be circumvented if there is someway for it to focus exclusively on the echoes from its own beam by filtering all the other photons. In this way, it can concentrate on the real target and ignore innocent but confusing background noise, and deliberate spoofing with fake signals.

Radars today try to filter out these false signals by focusing on specific frequency ranges and very precise timings, but clever EM warfare packages are able to spoof these techniques.

What the radar needs is a way to securely ‘tag’ its own photons, so that it can filter and ignore anything else…

Enter the Quantum Radar…

“Only a few of the photons sent out will be reflected back if they hit a stealth aircraft. A conventional radar wouldn’t be able to distinguish these returning photons from the mass of incoming signals created by natural phenomena—or by radar-jamming devices. But a quantum radar can check for evidence that incoming photons are entangled with the ones held back. Any that are must have originated at the radar station. This enables it to detect even the faintest of return signals in a mass of background noise.

Confused signals from target, environment and spoofing.

Background noise is filtered by quantum algorithms which only allow photons through if they are entangled with clones of the transmitted photons held in the radar’s ‘quantum memory’ .

The target is revealed.
However faint the real signal, it can never be swamped because only reflections from the radar station are considered.



Distant Encounter

NASA’s New Horizons space probe has just completed its latest flyby. Amazingly the the object, 2014 MU69—AKA Ultima Thule—is 44 AU from Earth (44 times our average distance from the sun). It takes light 6 hours for sunlight to crawl out to this remotest tenant of the Solar System.

The little probe has to send all its data back over that distance, the bandwidth is appalling.  So far, New Horizons has only managed to squirt us 1% of its image cache, but still, the pictures are amazing:

Ultima Thule is 33km-long. Each of the two lobes is almost spherical. It probably formed right at the dawn of the Solar System, over 4 Billion years ago from a drifting cloud of snow balls.

It has a reddish tinge, probably from the same methane based organics as found on the North pole of Pluto’s moon Charon.

Super cool stuff!

I am looking forward to the new images that should be coming in soon at much higher resolution.
New Horizons is still going strong, at 58,000 km/h, and has enough fuel and power for another 20 years! (assuming the native pond life in charge down here doesn’t further cut NASA’s budget.)


Oh, and Happy New Year!    🙂

Science from Singularity’s Children: Smart Cetaceans

In my Singularity’s Children series, animals are smart, but get a raw deal because they are hampered by a lack of hands and tongues, a deficiency overcome by the BugNet, AKA: IOA, The Internet of Animals.

The more science tells us about how smart —and devious— animals really are, the more convinced I become that we have already discovered “Alien Intelligence”.

Humpback Whale Communication and the Search for Alien Intelligence, watch the video here:

“The study of animal communication challenges our ideas of intelligence and informs our search for life in the universe. Among the most fascinating of vocalizations are the songs and sounds of humpback whales.”