NASA Tests Interplanetary Internet

By  |  Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 4:54 pm

Big Blue MarbleIt might not be subspace communications, but NASA has successfully tested a deep space communications network that it says is the first step toward the creation of an interplanetary Internet.

Today, NASA announced that engineers from its Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., had transmitted images to a NASA science spacecraft that was located more than 20 million miles away. The engineers used the Disruption-Tolerant Networking (DTN) protocol, which was co-developed with Internet co-founder Vint Cerf, to transmit the data.

I’m always happy to learn of instances of the U.S. government giving scientists the time and resources to focus on their work. Research, while not always something that can be ‘productized,’ drives innovation. An interplanetary Internet might not be a practical venture yet, but neither was the original Internet when Cerf and others got it going forty years ago..

On this celestial body, DTN could be useful in situations where network connectivity is spotty. I’m not an expert, but it sounds like it could be useful for bringing the Internet to rural areas, and that is a good thing.

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  1. JF Says:

    “Today, NASA announced that engineers from its Jet Propulsion Laboratory…”

    You do realize that announcement is over two month old, right?