News & Views
Space Firm Develops Interplanetary Internet
Dec 15 2011
UK company Surrey Satellite Technology is working with internet founder Vint Cerf to establish a revolutionary interplanetary internet which will speed up the transmission of data through space and help scientists explore stars
30 trillion miles away. Terrestrial internet is beamed into space to control unmanned craft,including 14 satellites currently orbiting theearth. The connection only lasts until a spacecraft leaves the earth’s orbit, but developers hope that the new interplanetarysystem will transform the way data is transmitted. Dai Stanton of Surrey Satellite
Technology told Channel 4 News: “In the deepspace environment we have very long delays. You get to the outer planets, you're talkingdelays of days. The interplanetary internet allows us to move the data around in an efficient way, despite these long delays. That means more data, quicker data, and more accurate data.”
Mr Cerf added: “It's very early days yet, but the protocols have become sufficiently robust that we believe they can be standardised soon and that all space-faring nations could use them in order to grow an interplanetary backbone, in
order to support both manned and robotic space exploration.”
The computer scientist is leading research in the US to discover how the network could be used to guide a probe to the nearest star. “The next big step after doing interplanetary exploration is to consider sending a mission to the nearest star, which should be Alpha Centauri,” he said.
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