What does it come in to your mind when I say “Internet“?, you might be thinking of the world wide web where each small and large computer networks all over the world are interconnected to send, receive and share information. But, have you considered the thought of using it outside the world? In that case, it is known as the Interplanetary Internet or the space internet.
Recently, NASA along with the European Space Agency (ESA) has successfully used the technology to send commands to a robot on the ground in Germany from a laptop on the International Space Station(ISS).
The test employed NASA’s Disruption-Tolerant Networking (DTN) protocol to transmit messages between the ISS and the robot and sometime in the future the internet boundary is just going to widen all over the world and some day the world itself might extend to other planets (a little fiction always thrills, but we cant say that it wont turn to reality).
Astronaut Sunita Williams onboard the International Space Station (ISS) used the technology to control a Lego robot European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany. The experiment was conducted in late October, NASA said.
Though DTN is similar to the internet on Earth, it is more tolerant to the delays and disruptions that are likely to occur when data is shuttling between planets, satellites, space stations and distant spacecraft, says BBC.
“It’s all about communicating over large distances, because the ‘normal’ internet doesn’t expect that it may take minutes before something is sent for it to arrive,” Kim Nergaard from Esa told the BBC.
About the network
Similar to the IP(Internet Protocol) used in the internet in Earth, the core of the DTN is something called the BP(Bundle Protocol). While IP assumes a seamless end to end connection between the user and the remote system , BP is built to account for disconnection and errors. In DTN, data moves “hop by hop” waiting at one node until the next link gets connected and then forwarded to the next node when the link becomes available.
As per BBC reports,
“It will still be via radio waves, but over different frequencies, to allow you higher data rate communication than the ones used today.”
Nasa’s Badri Younes said that the test was a success, and it demonstrated “the feasibility of using a new communications infrastructure to send commands to a surface robot from an orbiting spacecraft and receive images and data back from the robot”.
The technology is still under experiments and will have to go through a number of phases until it becomes ready to get launched all over. Now, how fast would that be?
Imagine the era of the technology boom when everything around will be linked to network as was discussed in our earlier post HOW WE ONCE WERE? HOW WE ARE NOW? HOW WILL WE BE LATER?, wow! isn’t it? to live a sci-fi life? Do you think it’s a wow? or do you think, “gosh soon even the walls of the house wont be able to keep any secrets or privacy?”
- NASA controls a LEGO robot from space via ‘interplanetary internet’ (theverge.com)
- Interplanetary Internet Used To Control Robot On Earth From Space. (toolwielder.wordpress.com)
- Space net used to control robot (bbc.co.uk)