NASA’s interplanetary internet, coming soon to a planet near you (Discover Magazine)

by Troy Farah

NASA is about to make it a little easier to check your Instagram in zero gravity. Two teams, Science Mission Directorate and Human Exploration and Operations, are working together to finally make interplanetary internet a thing. Previous efforts to bring WiFi throughout the solar system haven’t always been successful, but this time, it could become reality.

It will work using something called Delay/Disruption Tolerant Networking, which is pretty similar to the internet you’re familiar with. But conventional internet doesn’t do well in space, plagued with long delays, noisy channels, and high error rates.

With DTN, even if your connection gets disrupted, it will guarantee data packet delivery once the next communication path opens. Normally, if you lose connection, the data gets dumped. But by removing the need to retransmit during a lag, it saves time and frees up the limited memory used by spacecraft.

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