BEIJING, Aug 18 (Xinhua) -- China successfully launched the world's first quantum satellite on Tuesday, a groundbreaking project that global media say could result in breakthroughs in teleportation.
The satellite, Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS) is designed to establish "hack-proof" quantum communications by transmitting uncrackable keys from space to the ground, and provide insights into the strangest phenomenon in quantum physics -- quantum entanglement.
The New York Times said on Tuesday that the launch of QUESS marked a major step in China's bid to be at the forefront of quantum research, which could "lead to new, completely secure methods of transmitting information."
The Times noted that many of China's high-tech endeavors have huge support from the central government, and the quantum technology has been a focal point for development and research in the country's 13th Five-Year Plan that was announced in March.
South China Morning Post said the project carries "the hopes of scientist around the world."
"The Chinese scientist's efforts won respect and applause from colleagues and competitors in Europe, the United States, Russia, Canada and Japan" who had proposed similar plans to their governments only to face delays due to various reasons, the Post reported.
These opinions were echoed by the Wall Street Journal, which said the QUESS is expected to "propel China to the forefront of one of science's most challenging fields."
"It shows again China's ability to commit to large and ambitious projects and to realize them," Nicolas Gisin, a professor and quantum physicist at the University of Geneva told the Journal.
Scientists also said that quantum communication is defensive in nature. John Costello, a Washington,D.C.-based researcher specializing in China and cybersecurity told the Journal that the Chinese government is aware that they are "growing particularly susceptible to electronic espionage." University of Vienna Physist Anton Zeilinger, who used to be the montor of the QUESS project's Chief Scientist Pan Jiawei, was quoted by the Journal as saying that the satellite puts China and the field of quantum mechanics on the verge of a significant breakthrough.
"In the long run, there is a good chance that this will replace our current communications technology," he told the Journal. "I see no basic reason why it won't happen."