Tag Archives | NASA

NASA Tests Interplanetary Internet

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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Shocker: Obama May Cut NASA Shuttle Replacement

nasalogoI know this is a bit outside of Technologizer’s typical coverage area but it is interesting nonetheless. There has been some reports of bad feelings between the President-Elect and NASA, and we may be finding out why. Obama may be considering ending the Ares rocket program, intended to be the replacement for the space shuttle.

According to UK daily The Telegraph, Obama’s transition team has hammered the space agency on its budget issues. Over half of the 74 queries sent to NASA dealt with this topic, sources indicate.

This could mean potentially for the first time in over 40 years the agency may have no method to send astronauts into space. At the same time, the Ares program has been plagued by mismanagement and budget overruns, and in this time of cutbacks everywhere that certainly is not a good thing.

Obama has sent mixed messages on manned spaceflight. His earlier campaign comments seemed to suggest he was in favor of some type of delay in the program altogether, however this softened considerably as Florida became an important state.

NASA has  said that it wants to put humans back on the moon by 2020, which is preparation for a permanent lunar base and manned mission to Mars a decade or so later. However if Ares is scrapped, that could put that timeline in jeopardy.

In any case, it will not be more of the same at the agency. “There will be changes,” Obama NASA liason and former adminstrator Lori Garver has said.