NASA's latest data download just covered way more distance, and contained way more awesome, than any earthbound file transfer: the agency beamed a high-def video down from the International Space Station this week using a high-powered laser. Go ahead and give your WiFi router a good stern look.
The Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science project, or OPALS, mounted a 2.5 watt, 1,550-nanometer laser transmitter to the ISS. The device was tasked with transmitting data at 50 megabits per second to a NASA receiving station near Los Angeles. With the ISS hurtling around our planet at over 17,000 MPH, a steady aim is hugely important: NASA likens the task to "aiming a laser pointer at the end of a human hair 30 feet away and keeping it there while walking."