(Nippon) Space policy expert Aoki Setsuko explains the significance of China’s launch of its Quantum Science Satellite, nicknamed Mozi. With this launch, China has taken the lead in implementing quantum-encoded communications.
Setsuko explains that China’s launch of its “quantum science satellite,” or QSS, in August 2016 was a first, and the United States has yet to match it. She likens China’s successful launch of Mozi the “21st Century Sputnik Moment”.
The satellite is icknamed Mozi, or Micius, after an ancient Chinese philosopher who advocated nonbelligerency and philanthropy in the age of the Hundred Schools of Thought. China is testing the technology that will serve as the most crucial foundation for communication in the future. Success in this endeavor allows China to surpass the United States in a cutting-edge field.
Mozi is serving as a tool for the testing and development of the basic technology to make quantum communications possible. It is the only satellite currently in space capable of exchanging quantum-encoded messages with base stations on Earth. With this achievement China has left America in the dust.
For the United States, this is comparable in seriousness to the Soviet success in the race to launch the first artificial satellite. And so it seems appropriate to call it the twenty-first century’s Sputnik moment.