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Google's Chief Internet Evangelist on Creating the Interplanetary Internet


An image showing proposed interplanetary Internet connections.

Working with NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 1997, Google chief Internet evangelist and ACM president Vint Cert has created an early-stage space-based network.

Credit: NASA/JPL

Google chief Internet evangelist and ACM president Vint Cerf has been working for years on an interplanetary Internet with protocols capable of handling a space environment.

Together with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Cerf has created an early-stage space-based network with a few nodes that he says are "the front end of what could be an evolving and expanding interplanetary backbone."

The project began in 1997 when Cerf considered what the Internet might need in 25 years, and concluded that NASA and other space-faring agencies would need greater networking capabilities. 

Communications capabilities for space exploration so far have been almost entirely limited to point-to-point radio links. Cerf's team has developed the Bundle protocols, which are similar to Internet packets that can be very large and are transmitted like bundles of information via "storing forward." The interplanetary protocol has the capacity to store a large amount of data for a long time prior to transmission.

If the protocol is adopted by the Consultative Committee on Space Data Systems, which standardizes space communication protocols, then all robotic and manned space missions will have the option of using these protocols.

From Wired News
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