Sunday, June 26, 2005

Virtual Journey into Outer Space: InterPlaNet

interplanetary internet: beyond earth computer nets

Take a virtual journey into outer space via the InterPlaNet, beyond earth's computer nets.

COMING SOON to a computer near you!

Hello friends. Time to play catch up on a lot of topics I need to provide you with information on. One of those topics is the Extra-terrestial Computer Network project.

Yes, it's been way too long since I posted something about the Interplanetary Internet, also known as (aka)...


Briefly, it is a project that NASA, the Jet Propulsion Lab, and the US Department of Defense, plus some private corporations and some universities, are now working on.

Dr. Vinton Cerf, the guy who invented TCP, the protocol or "language" that internet connected computers use to communicate with each other, to send information packets back and forth, and to verify the delivery of these packets, is one of the leaders.

The Interplanetary Internet will be used to connect earth-bound computers and networks, like the current Commodity Internet, Internet2, and others, with orbiting satellites around Mars, with space colonies on the moon and Mars, with space stations, with space shuttles, with space probes, and other extra-terrestial systems.

Some folks fear the nasty alien critters will listen in on us. But those bad guys from outer space have already listened, have decided we are stupid, crazy and violent, and are just waiting for us to destroy ourselves so they can move in later. Or something like that. I guess this paragraph belongs on my Cosmos Blogmos site.


Anyway, here's what I wanted to say to excite you: someday we'll be able to visit other planets, moons, stars, nebulae, comets, etc. via the InterPlaNet connected via the Next Generation Internet (Internet2 or Ultranet3, whatever exists at that time).

The internet you and I use now is primitive and slow.

The InterPlaNet will be faster, but based on sporadic connectivity and parcels of information, bundles, like a UPS package.

The parcel/bundle will be dropped off at a "gateway" site, which will then determine the best way to deliver it to Mars or wherever. Info bundles will be tracked, rather than back and forth communication like we have with TCP/IP connections.

Imagine going to your computer, laptop, cell phone, wrist-puter, puter-medallion, and actually viewing Mars, or the moon, in near real time. Fun is on its way.

You'll be an armchair astronaut. (Did I just invent another neologism?)

I'm going to stop here, because the topic is vast, and it gets really technical really fast.

Here are some links for you
to explore on your own
if you're interested...

" How Interplanetary Internet Will Work" at How Stuff Works

"The Interplanetary Internet" by Toby Howard
(orig. in Personal Computer World, November 1998)

Space Communications Protocol Standards

[intro paragraph from SCPS site]:

The goal of the Space Communications Protocol Standards (SCPS) project is to provide a suite of standard data handling protocols which (from a user viewpoint) make a remote space vehicle appear to be just another "node on the Internet".

Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems

If you're interested in network design and programming, consider this InterPlaNet as a career field.

It is the future of computing.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

space communications protocol standards (logo from their web site)


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