As anyone who has beheld the night sky knows, the vastness of space is as intimidating as the stars themselves. Embarking on a manned spaceflight entails traveling through a lot of emptiness before actually landing somewhere. How are astronauts supposed to communicate when sound waves can't travel through that vacuum? Nowadays, astronauts use radio waves to communicate, but this article explored an old-fashioned, almost quaint solution: sunbeams and mirrors. The Air Force conducted several trials of Solar Orbital Communications (SOCOM) out in the Mojave Desert, where they concluded that it was worth exploring long-range sunbeam signals as an option for interstellar travel. Ideally, SOCOM system would use a giant transmitter to flash messages to relay stations in space. Just think of it as Morse Code with mirrors.
Read the full story in "Spacemen May Talk on Beams of Light"