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Development  and  Astronaut  Deployment  of  a  Secure  Quantum  
Space  Channel  Prototype  at  the  Pacific  Interna<onal...
communications, as it relies upon similar kinds of lasers and optical elements. Hence, this concept represents a
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Secure Space Communications, NASA-DARPA-NIAC-OCT (1)

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Secure Space Communications, NASA-DARPA-NIAC-OCT (1)

  1. 1. Development  and  Astronaut  Deployment  of  a  Secure  Quantum   Space  Channel  Prototype  at  the  Pacific  Interna<onal  Space  Center   for  Explora<on  Systems   Christopher  Altman  (PISCES,  University  of  Hawaii),  Colin  P.  Williams  (Jet  Propulsion  Laboratory,  Caltech),   Rupert  Ursin  (Ins>tute  for  Quantum  Op>cs  and  Quantum  Informa>on,  Austrian  Academy  of  Sciences),   Paolo  Villoresi  (University  of  Padova,  Italy),  Vikram  Sharma  (Quintessence  Labs) Short  Descrip<on We propose a fundamentally new quantum-based communication system based on “continuous variable” quantum communications that will provide space-based NASA assets communications with unconditional information security. By this we mean that all command and control inputs to spacecraft sent over our network will be guaranteed to be impossible to spoof by any US adversary, and protected by the fundamental laws of physics, whereas there is currently no security proof for conventional secure communication (SSL, RSA and others). Moreover, such absolute security is even guaranteed if the encrypted traffic must pass over insecure and public networks not under NASA (or even US) control. Such a capability will provide NASA a permanent solution to its secure communication needs, and is directly responsive to the stated NASA need for “unconditional information security” referenced in the 2010 NASA Communication and Navigation Systems Technology Roadmap1. Our visionary approach brings together the expertise of the two leading European groups involved in demonstrating quantum communications over a 144km free-space optical path, with the quantum and optical communications expertise of NASA JPL, the continuous variable quantum communications expertise of QuintessenceLabs, and the lunar and astronaut training facilities at the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) on Hawaii. Consequently, we offer the best global team for developing a free-space continuous variable quantum communications prototype and demonstrating the feasibility for it to be set up and calibrated by an astronaut on analogue lunar terrain, echoing the famous placement of the lunar retroreflectors by the Apollo astronauts. Concept NASA is already moving towards optical communications for higher bandwidth channels. Currently the security of those channels is based on the standard public key infrastructure (PKI). As PKI is only conditionally secure it can, in principle (and practice) be compromised with sufficient computing power. This exposes NASA’s space assets and astronauts to potential harm if an adversary inserts damaging control inputs into communications commanding and controlling those assets. We propose a demo kit that an astronaut could set up to demonstrate the feasibility of deploying a secure quantum communications network between the Earth, the Moon, Mars, and deep space missions based on the use of continuous quantum variable communications. This type of quantum communications is ideally suited to integration into conventional NASA optical 1 J. Rush et al., “NASA Communication and Navigation Systems Technology Roadmap (Technology Area 05), November (2010) p.TA05-8. Fig.  2  Astronauts  field-­‐test  next  generaCon   spacesuits.  
  2. 2. communications, as it relies upon similar kinds of lasers and optical elements. Hence, this concept represents a potential breakthrough in free-space quantum communications for NASA. The continuous variable quantum communications system would be used to securely establish matching cryptographic keys over an (potentially) insecure channel. Thereafter, those keys could be used in any secure classical cryptography system to guarantee authentication of command and control inputs sent to any NASA space asset. Ultimately, this new way of conducting communications will protect NASA assets and the lives of NASA astronauts. Poten<al  Impact Our system will surpasses the state of the art in secure communications in two significant ways. First, whereas current information security relies upon public key cryptography, in which the security of the system rests on the unproven presumption that certain mathematical problems (such as factoring large composite integers or computing discrete logarithms) are intractable, the security of our quantum technique rests upon physical laws that cannot be circumvented. Secondly, whereas NASA (and all other government agencies) must today periodically upgrade the security of their systems by using longer and longer cryptographic keys to keep one step ahead of those wishing to hack the communications channel, our proposed solution is derived from the known laws of fundamental physics, and is thus impervious to these kinds of attacks. Study In Phase I we intend to accomplish the following goals:   · Design the optical couplers between QuintessenceLabs’ fiber-based continuous variable quantum key distribution (CV-QKD) equipment and a free-space channel. · Install, calibrate, & demonstrate the CV-QKD equipment at the PISCES test site. This will verify the CV-QKD is working at high altitude prior to conducting any free-space tests. · Install the optical transmitter and receiver telescopes over a free-space link at different levels of optical losses. · Assessment of the CV-QKD link budget and of the modeling of expected key rate in realistic conditions. · Demonstrate launching and intercepting the keys generated by the CV-QKD equipment from the transmitter telescope to the receiver telescope. · Demonstrate successful key exchange with the cryptographic keys imprinted on the phase and amplitude quadratures of a bright coherent laser beam at the test site. · Field testing of Tx and Rx setups over a short-range optical free-space channel, with experimental simulation of losses, to demonstrate the application of the technology to this domain and the feasibility of deep space quantum communication. · At the end of Phase I, we will have demonstrated the ability of an astronaut to carry, set up, align, calibrate, and test a CV-QKD communications network in an analog lunar test site. Fig.  3  Retroreflector  placed  on  the   Moon  by  the  Apollo  astronauts.   Fig.  4  Long-­‐term  research  for  secure   space  communicaCons.  
  3. 3. Quantum  technology  holds  the  poten2al  to  revolu2onize  NASA's  mission  and  effec2veness.   Guaranteed  secure  communica2ons  are  cri2cal  to  NASA  assets  and  to  the  lives  of  NASA   astronauts.  We  propose  a  fundamentally  new  quantum-­‐based  communica2on  system  based  on   con2nuous  variable  quantum  communica2ons  that  will  provide  uncondi2onal  informa2on   security  to  NASA  assets  on  the  Moon,  to  Mars,  to  asteroids  and  deep  space.  Our  proposal  will   demonstrate  the  feasibility  of  this  system  in  an  analog  lunar  environment,  bringing  quantum   communica2ons  to  the  next-­‐genera2on  NASA  manned  spaceflight  program.  Such  a  capacity  will   provide  NASA  a  permanent  solu2on  to  its  secure  communica2on  needs,  and  is  directly   responsive  to  the  stated  NASA  need  for  uncondi'onal  informa'on  security  referenced  in  the   2010  NASA  Communica2on  and  Naviga2on  Systems  Technology  Roadmap. Our  visionary  approach  brings  together  the  exper2se  of  the  two  leading  European  groups   involved  in  demonstra2ng  first-­‐ever  quantum  communica2ons  over  a  144  km  free-­‐space  op2cal   path,  with  the  quantum  and  op2cal  communica2ons  exper2se  of  NASA  JPL,  the  con2nuous   variable  quantum  communica2ons  exper2se  of  Quintessence  Labs,  and  the  lunar  and  astronaut   training  facili2es  at  the  Pacific  Interna2onal  Space  Center  for  Explora2on  Systems  on  Hawaii.   Consequently,  we  offer  the  best  global  team  for  developing  the  first-­‐ever  free-­‐space  con2nuous   variable  quantum  communica2ons  prototype  with  demonstra2ng  the  feasibility  for  it  to  be  set   up  and  calibrated  by  an  astronaut  on  analogue  lunar  terrain,  echoing  the  famous  placement  of   lunar  retroreflectors  by  the  Apollo  astronauts. NASA  is  already  moving  towards  op2cal  communica2ons  for  higher  bandwidth  channels.   Currently  the  security  of  those  channels  is  based  on  the  standard  public  key  infrastructure  (PKI).   As  PKI  is  only  condi2onally  secure  it  can,  in  principle  (and  prac2ce)  be  compromised  with   sufficient  compu2ng  power.  This  exposes  NASA’s  space  assets  and  astronauts  to  poten2al  harm   if  an  adversary  inserts  damaging  control  inputs  into  communica2ons  commanding  and   controlling  those  assets.  We  propose  a  demonstra2on  kit  that  an  astronaut  could  set  up  to   demonstrate  the  feasibility  of  deploying  a  secure  quantum  communica2ons  network  between   the  Earth,  the  Moon,  Mars,  and  deep  space  missions  based  on  the  use  of  con2nuous  quantum   variable  communica2ons. This  type  of  quantum  communica2ons  is  ideally  suited  to  integra2on  into  conven2onal  NASA   op2cal  communica2ons,  as  it  relies  upon  similar  kinds  of  lasers  and  op2cal  elements.  Hence,   this  concept  represents  a  poten2al  breakthrough  in  free-­‐space  quantum  communica2ons  for   NASA.  The  con2nuous  variable  quantum  communica2ons  system  would  be  used  to  securely   establish  matching  cryptographic  keys  over  an  (poten2ally)  insecure  channel.  Therea]er,  those   keys  could  be  used  in  any  secure  classical  cryptographic  system  to  guarantee  authen2ca2on  of   command  and  control  inputs  sent  to  any  NASA  space  asset.  Ul2mately,  this  new  way  of   conduc2ng  communica2ons  will  protect  NASA  assets  and  the  lives  of  NASA  astronauts. Project  Summary  from  NASA/NIAC  Phase  I Development  and  Astronaut  Deployment  of  a  Secure   Quantum  Space  Channel  Prototype