NASA tests 'interplanetary internet'

Found this interesting article on today, regarding the new “Disruption-Tolerant Network”, or DTN, that NASA has developed for communication between space probes, space stations and earth.

NASA said the software protocol, which must be able to withstand delays, disruptions and disconnections in space, was designed in partnership with Vint Cerf, a vice president at search giant Google.

DTN sends information using a method that differs from the normal Internet’s Transmission-Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, or TCP/IP, communication suite, which Cerf co-designed, NASA said.

Unlike TCP/IP, DTN does not assume a continuous end-to-end connection, NASA said, noting that glitches can happen when a spacecraft moves behind a planet, or when solar storms and long communication delays occur.

Pretty cool stuff – I can envisage in (many) years to come there’ll be nodes on the Moon, on Mars, the ISS and other orbiting satellites, space probes – all able to communicate with each other, share files and information and check out each others facebook profiles 🙂

Interplanetary Internet (credit NASA/JPL)

Interplanetary Internet (credit NASA/JPL)

JPL already has a facebook page and a tweet on twitter, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see more integration into social networking sites by NASA and the new DTN.

Read the full story on NASA’s JPL site.

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