Vancouver, Canada – May 14, 2004– fSONA Communications‘ co–founder and Chief Scientist, Dr.
Stephen Mecherle recently assisted a NASA team preparing to launch a mission to Mars in 2009 that will attempt to demonstrate
laser-based communications between the Earth and Mars.
The Mars Laser Communications Demonstration Project is a joint project between NASA s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), the
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology (JPL), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory
(MIT/LL). By using free-space optics technology to communicate with the Mars Telecom Orbiter (MTO) the MLCD project will demonstrate a
technology which will vastly improve NASA's ability to communicate throughout the solar system. NASA hopes that this communications
system will enable an affordable, virtual presence throughout the solar system by increasing volume and timeliness of space data
The Mars Laser Communication Demonstration (MLCD) Project Mission Concept Review (MCR) co–chairman, Robert Menrad, realized that
for the MCR to be successful it would require special skills in the area of theoretical and operational laser communications. During
a search within the laser communications community, Dr. Mecherle's peers recommended him as a very strong candidate for this review.
According to Mr. Menrad, Dr. Mecherle's “demonstrated technical expertise, team-oriented manner and obvious personal dedication
were instrumental in our ability to conduct an effective review. His willingness to probe the material being presented with tightly
focused questions permitted the board to investigate large amounts of material efficiently.” As well, he brought “a unique
blend of technical knowledge, operational expertise and strong communication skills” to the project.
“We, at fSONA, are proud that our co-founder Stephen Mecherle was able to use his expertise in laser communications to assist NASA
with their review of the Mars Laser Communications Demonstration project,” said President and CEO, Theresa Carbonneau. “It's very
gratifying to be able to be a part of such an exciting and challenging project.”
Stephen Mecherle is a renowned expert on laser communications – he has chaired the SPIE Photonics West conference “Free Space Laser
Communications Technologies” for the past 12 years and also teaches a course on Free Space Laser Communications at UCLA (University of
California, Los Angeles).
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