Moving Towards Inter-Planetary Internet

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has declared that scientists have achieved success in testing deep space communications network, the first of its kind based on Internet concept.

The agency added that engineers who were working with a NASA- wide team were able to transmit many images from Jet Propulsion Laboratory located at Pasadena in California US to NASA science spacecraft and back. The space craft was at a distance of about 20 million miles away from earth and the software used for this purpose is known a Disruption-Tolerant Networking or DTN.

According to Adrian Hooke who leads the team as a manager of space-networking architecture, technology and standards at NASA headquarters in Washington this is a big breakthrough and a leap towards creating capability in a totally new space communications field called inter-planetary internet.

Role of Google

Space agency stated that NASA along with Vint Cerf vice president Google had started work on development of DTN software protocol about 10 years ago NASA added that DTN software protocol uses a method that sends the information which is different from the normal TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) in whose design Cerf has played a significant role. No like TCP/IP the DTN does not work on the principle of end-to-end continuous connection rather DTN does not discard the data packets if destination path is not found. Instead information is kept in each data mode till communication between the one another is set up.

Scientists believe that inter-planetary Internet will withstand disruptions, delays and disconnections in space. There is every chance of malfunction to take place when spacecraft while in space gets behind a planet or when solar storms and long duration communication delays happen. NASA made a very important point that sending and receiving data from Mars at the speed of light caused the delay that was in the interval from three and a half to 20 minutes.

Manifestation of DTN:

Space agency stated that engineers had started demonstrations of DTN in October that covered a month time period. NASA’s Deep Space Network was used to transmit data as a part of demonstration twice in a week. NASA’s Epoxi spacecraft was used as Mars data-relay orbiter by Engineers. These month long demonstrations were first of its kind to test the technology for the use in future space missions. Next round of testing will start in the mid of coming year where new DTN software will be loaded on International Space Station.

NASA declared that in the subsequent years, many new types of missions can be expected with the use of inter-planetary internet.

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