Quantum computing breakthroughs are analogous to the space race in that they involve massive investments by large corporations in futuristic technologies that will take humanity to the next level.

Today, NASA and Microsoft are taking things a step further with the cooperation that will ideally make it easier for NASA to coordinate its spacecraft, which is a difficult task on its own. What is the ultimate goal? Quantum technology is reducing the time it takes to transfer instructions from hours to minutes.

“Managing communications with the expanding number of spacecraft is getting increasingly complicated as NASA launches more frequent and complex missions into space,” Microsoft writes in a blog post. “NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has turned to Azure Quantum to investigate ways to interact with spacecraft exploring our solar system and beyond in a more efficient manner.”

Quantum rules the waves

There are even indicators of early success. Microsoft has recorded schedule runtimes of 16 minutes during testing, significantly less than the two or more hours NASA has historically taken. NASA would be able to develop several schedules with a wider reach, allowing the organization to become more agile.

Microsoft hasn’t revealed any other information regarding the relationship, but we’re sure we’ll learn more as time goes on and quantum technology is applied to one of space travel’s lesser-known bottlenecks.

Quantum technology differs from the conventional binary system, in which inputs can be either one or zero, by introducing states between them and allowing them to be both at the same time.

As the following example demonstrates, computation occurs much more swiftly, yet quantum computing research is still in its early stages. It’s similar to when PCs only had 32KB of RAM compared to operating a system with 256GB, both in terms of future potential and in contrast to current processing power.

Microsoft, IBM, Amazon, Microsoft, the United States, China, and a slew of other startups, countries, and large corporations are currently investigating the topic in order to gain a competitive advantage in the next wave of computing.

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