Thinking ahead is what differentiates humans from the other animals. Planning around those thoughts is a different matter all together. Today, we have the Internet, and it’s an amazing thing. But why hobble this amazing thing by tethering it to planet Earth?
So what if we could extend the Internet? Say, out as far as Mars to begin with?
That’d help, wouldn’t it?
“The father of the Internet, Vint Cerf, is overseeing efforts by NASA to build a permanent Internet link to Mars by 2008.”
He’s a clever guy that Vint Cerf, you know:
“Google vice president and Internet evangelist, Cerf co-wrote the TCP/IP protocol which underpins the Terran internet in the 1970s…”
I know that a lot of space missions have relied on the engineers writing their own communication protocols from scratch, with very little code re-use.
Having an interplanetary network such as InterPlaNet would standardize communication between Earth-based control centers and the space-based units hurtling through the solar system doing their thing.
“A collaboration between NASA and the Advanced Research Project Agency, the InterPlaNet project is underway at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Houston, Texas. The InterPlaNet protocol is designed to cope with delays caused by the vast distances of space, with data taking up to 20 minutes to travel between the Earth and Mars depending on how far apart the two planets are.”
So there’s a latency issue to deal with, it would seem.
“In 2004 the rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, broke Martian data speed records by sustaining a 256 kbps uplink to the Mars Odyssey and Mars Global Surveyor satellites orbiting above. Mars Odyssey had the faster link to Earth – 124 kbps at the time – but it has dropped as Mars moves further away from the Earth.”
About two weeks ago, my broadband connection was barely that, so I won’t laugh.
Makes you wonder what IP10 is going to look like if we’re going to be sending IM’s to friends camping out on the slopes of Olympus Mons…