Google (GOOG) and Nasa are partnering up to take the evolution of the Internet architecture to a higher level. Both companies, according to Technology Review, are working on a project called “InterPlanetary Internet” which is designed to flow through InterPlanetary Regions with possible domains such as Pluto.sol or Mars.sol and create a space-communication network similar to Earth’s Internet.
Vint Cerf, Google’s vice president and co-creator of the internet’s TCP/IP protocol, together with Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where Cerf is also a visiting scientist, have started working to develop the space-Internet operation standard that if successful, will implement a revolutionary new scheme for space communication and will finally replace the point-to-point radio links system we’ve been using in space since the ’60s.
Developing an InterPlanetary Internet system in space as one would suspect, has certain challenges. Starting with earth’s motion and rotation which causes senders and receivers to rotate out of the line of sight resulting in long delays and potential disruptions. This means the possibility of real-time communications in space remains elusive. Cerf however, says he is developing protocols that will deal with this problem. He has designed a “delay-and disruption-tolerant networking system” [DTN] – a method that will route the information through hosts and hold on to it until a communications link can be established. This standard, notes Cerf, similar to the TCP/IP design, will help create more effective ways of communications.
Cerf also points out that the important part here is that protocols have now been standardized allowing for “internetworking of various spacecraft launched by all the spacefaring nations.”
The Interplanetary Internet project will be tested aboard the International Space Station in 2009. Cerf hopes that by 2010, new space missions will be designed to use the protocols.