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Internet in space, but a few bumps in the road

More than 1 billion people on Earth use the Internet worldwide, but  it may not be long before the power of the Internet is available to people in space.

"Interplanetary" Internet capabilities could one day allow users "to access information and to control experiments taking place far away" from our planet, said Vinton Cerf, a computer scientist and Internet evangelist best known the founding father of the Internet.

Speaking during an event held in Seoul, South Korea, Cerf warned a new set of rules and regulations will need to be created for space-era Internet.  Cerf is working with a team of engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to help create the new standards, with an estimated guideline ready for the public in three years.

Along with astronauts having a constant stream to the Internet, interplanetary Internet capabilities would allow NASA flight engineers to have interactive communication with technology on the moon or Mars.

Several organizations have cropped up attempting to inform the public about possible uses and technology of Internet in space.  One such organization, the InterPlaNetary Internet Project, hopes to "define the architecture and protocols" that will allow people on Earth to communicate with other planets or spacecraft in orbit.  Even though the site's "Press Room" page has not been updated, links to several articles and press releases about about Internet technology are featured.

A number of problems face researchers before a proper space Internet system can be arranged in the near future.  Cost, implementation and security are three of the biggest issues, with space Internet supporters having basic ideas but no true long-term risk assessments completed.

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Misleading Title
By Cobra Commander on 10/18/2007 1:42:01 PM , Rating: 2
Here I thought the article was going to quote some comments from Al Gore...

RE: Misleading Title
By mdogs444 on 10/18/2007 1:46:48 PM , Rating: 2
Global warming will not allow the transmissions of data to space via the internet, not to mention the energy costs of it would be like Gore's monthly electric bill.

RE: Misleading Title
By UNCjigga on 10/18/2007 2:35:08 PM , Rating: 6

RE: Misleading Title
By murphyslabrat on 10/18/2007 3:38:37 PM , Rating: 3
You know, that is the best solution I've ever heard! Just use reality's console to decrement the env_var.temp.avg_tmp variable by 1, and you have completely negated global warming. The only problem is finding the tilde key.

RE: Misleading Title
By Homerboy on 10/18/2007 1:49:41 PM , Rating: 1
stop perpetuating the lie of the joke. He never said "it". The horse has been beating to death already.

RE: Misleading Title
By zombiexl on 10/18/07, Rating: 0
RE: Misleading Title
By omnicronx on 10/18/2007 3:33:48 PM , Rating: 4
Al gore has never said he was the 'creator' of the internet, but he did play a big part in the beginning stages of implementing the internet. None of this happens to be a lie, so i never got what the big fuss was about.

All that "took the initiative in creating the Internet" meant was that he was a part in 'init'ilizing the beginnings of the internet, which he was.

To think the net would not have been invented if not for al gore is dumb, but he was there for the developing stages so you have to give him some credit. Heck if i helped do all that, I would take credit too! As would the rest of you here!

RE: Misleading Title
By James Holden on 10/18/2007 4:04:40 PM , Rating: 4
All that "took the initiative in creating the Internet" meant was that he was a part in 'init'ilizing the beginnings of the internet, which he was.

He really wasn't. He jumped on the bandwagon relatively late in the game.

Sort of like he did with global warming


RE: Misleading Title
By Polynikes on 10/18/2007 5:46:47 PM , Rating: 2
Oh snap!

RE: Misleading Title
By James Holden on 10/18/2007 4:53:38 PM , Rating: 2
Al gore has never said he was the 'creator' of the internet, but he did play a big part in the beginning stages of implementing the internet. None of this happens to be a lie, so i never got what the big fuss was about.

Please read my other posts on the subject. As someone who was there I'm constantly amazed by what people read on Wikipedia and take for truth.

Gore missed the Internet boat by almost a decade. FYI, that's NOT the beginning stages.

RE: Misleading Title
By lompocus on 10/18/2007 10:55:47 PM , Rating: 1
That's CNN. The place that made a crazy debacle of anna nicole, putting her ahead of everything else in the world. I mean wtf? Who the fuck puts a fat porn model ahead of war, murder, and business stuff?

Also, he NEVER said that. CNN quickly took it out of context.

RE: Misleading Title
By zombiexl on 10/22/2007 9:32:41 AM , Rating: 2
Its the transcript of an interview. Pretty hard to f*%$ that up.

RE: Misleading Title
By TomZ on 10/18/2007 2:05:03 PM , Rating: 2
Al Gore said the following:

During my service in the United States Congress I took the initiative in creating the Internet.

The "lie of the joke" as you say is not far from the truth of what he said. :o)

RE: Misleading Title
By zombiexl on 10/18/2007 2:06:51 PM , Rating: 2
Geez Tom.. on the phone tapping issue we argue politics and here we both post essentially the same thing.

maybe your not such a bad guy after all..


you are :)

RE: Misleading Title
By ebrius on 10/18/2007 3:36:44 PM , Rating: 2
If you actually knew your Internet history instead of just blindly quoting someone, you'd realize that Al Gore was actually instrumentally in creating the Internet as we know it. No, he didn't create it physically, but he was the major proponent of the technology and policies that govern the Internet we have today.

RE: Misleading Title
By TomZ on 10/18/2007 3:39:25 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I just blindly quoted Al Gore, not just some random person.

The joke, if I must explain it to you, is that many people were instrumental in getting the Internet to where it is today. It was not the effort of a single individual. But to listen to Gore makes you think he did everything himself. He never even acknowledges the efforts of all the other people involved. Get it?

RE: Misleading Title
By mdogs444 on 10/18/2007 3:46:49 PM , Rating: 2
Al Gore had just about as much to do with helping the large group of people who created the internet as he does being a contributor to global warming. Sure he may have contributed a small portion, but still makes himself a centerpiece in every talk. Hes like the little kid who fabricates stories and lies just so he can be the center of attention.

He is his own worst nightmare.

RE: Misleading Title
By James Holden on 10/18/2007 4:49:25 PM , Rating: 4
Al Gore had just about as much to do with helping the large group of people who created the internet as he does being a contributor to global warming.

Someone dug up his attendance history for those Internet SIGs in the early 90s on Slashdot and it was less than 25%.

By comparison, I was one of the first 1,000 people on ARPANET before we moved over to MILNET. I had a 100% attendance record at the time, and this was a decade before Gore passed anything Internet-related.

Gore's major contribution was the funding for the original NREN -- which nobody has heard of because it was completely replaced by Internet2. NERN failed its original mandate, which was to connect K-12 schools to each other, not just supercomputing universities.

It's true, the Gore Bill injected money into universities that would later become Internet powerhouses like U of I. But you know what, so did NASA, NSF, the DOE, and every branch of the military. I remember my first non-military usage of NSFNET, which basically meant I could do phonebook lookups between U of I and UCSD.

By the time the Gore Bill actually passed, 1991, there were already 600,000 hosts on NSFNET; there were 60,000 in 1988. In 1988 people already knew the "net" was going to be the next telephone. By comparison, the original U.S. phone exchange had 150,000 subscribers 11 years after it's inception.

Al Gore threw a snowball into an avalanche and then claimed the avalanche was his doing. Mod me down if you want, but there are thousands of unsung contributors to the Internet way before Gore even heard about it.

RE: Misleading Title
By vortmax on 10/19/2007 11:32:09 AM , Rating: 2
Finally, someone with hard data....nice!

RE: Misleading Title
By Polynikes on 10/22/2007 5:21:31 PM , Rating: 2
Well, it probably is.

RE: Misleading Title
By murphyslabrat on 10/18/2007 4:11:07 PM , Rating: 2
I just went digging, and I found that much of what is claimed as "a critical role in the formation of the internet" had unprovable effects. He was very vocal about science and technology, but he did little more than propose two bills in favor of research into networking. One of which had an environmental bill tacked on. But that was it, other than share his interest, he did little.

I was, however, surprised to see him so consistent in his (I believe misdirected) crusade for the environment. It's always cool to see consistent beliefs with politicians, especially since back then it wasn't the hot-button issue that it is today.

RE: Misleading Title
By Pauli on 10/18/2007 4:42:53 PM , Rating: 2
The Internet was "created" in the 60s. What exactly did Al Gore do that was instrumental in its creation way back then?

RE: Misleading Title
By PrinceGaz on 10/18/2007 1:52:43 PM , Rating: 4
Internet Founding Father of Wants Space Wide Web

The title is not so much misleading, but makes little sense.

RE: Misleading Title
By athlete on 10/18/2007 2:06:51 PM , Rating: 2
I agree.

RE: Misleading Title
By James Holden on 10/18/2007 2:14:26 PM , Rating: 1
You're showing your age :)

For a long time we never used the word Internet, it was the World Wide Web. I thought the title was spot on.

RE: Misleading Title
By MarkDavisxxx on 10/18/2007 2:32:51 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think he was referring to the WWW nomenclature. I think it was more about the grammatical catastrophe. It reeks of...Somebody set us up the bomb!

RE: Misleading Title
By Spivonious on 10/18/2007 2:50:01 PM , Rating: 2
Founding Father of did he get this title, I wonder?

Does Vincent Cerf have Alzheimer's?
By Pauli on 10/18/2007 2:17:38 PM , Rating: 2
Is this really such an important topic? At what point will there be enough people in space and on different planets to justify investing millions (maybe billions) of $$$ to build up an Internet infrastructure in space? This is at least 50 years away (more like 100+) at which point, the technology landscape will certainly be very different than it is today.

Okay, maybe Internet access would be somewhat useful for the space station, but at this point, I think it would be way too cost prohibitive to justify. I'm sure the space station scientists can still make good use of their time without surfing the net.

By James Holden on 10/18/2007 2:33:49 PM , Rating: 1
You know, if someone had set up mail exchange *correctly* when the Internet was young, or even before it started, we could have eliminated spam from day one.

And it's not exactly like Vint has something better to do. Kudos to him I say.

RE: Does Vincent Cerf have Alzheimer's?
By mgambrell on 10/18/2007 4:47:43 PM , Rating: 2
The internet infrastructure will make it easier and cheaper to do the stuff we're going to end up doing anyway. It is often less costly to plan things in advance so you know how to go ahead and do it the right way than it is to see what evolves and try to fix it later.

By Pauli on 10/18/2007 5:31:31 PM , Rating: 2
I fully understand the concept of planning things in advance so that they don't end up screwing things up down the road. However, the colonization of other planets is soooo far off, it doesn't make any sense to plan for it. How soon do you people think that this will happen? I'm a firm believer in keeping things at a practical level prior to investing in some "pie-in-the-sky" future. Too many things will change before space colonization happens in order for this to be useful. I am not opposed to discussion about this topic, but I am very opposed to spending millions of taxpayer dollars on this effort.

By Fritzr on 10/18/2007 9:48:13 PM , Rating: 2
When Networking was developed to allow computers to share data there was little interest in connecting outside the local "cluster"

Today it is hard to imagine a computer that is not connected to the world unless it is in a high security position where access is limited by lack of connection to the outside

The space wide web will allow space missions to connect to base without dedicated links for each individual mission. Instead they can all contact general purpose ground stations with their IP address. More importantly they will be able to use a relay system. Imagine how it would simplify things if Mars probes could send/receive to a Mars router, with the router being responsible for talking to Earth :) WorldWideWeb is an application that runs on the InterNet.

A space version of WWW is still distant due to bandwidth & latency measured in minutes instead of microseconds, but it will be done as soon as projects decide to add GUI interfaces to their probes :P

The first version of Space Wide Web will be similar to early InterNet. E-Mail, Gopher, Archie and other simple file sharing/information transfer applications. Very useful for research missions. The bloggers, comic books, news sites & MOL (Mars On Line) will come later using the infrastructure built for the simple basic applications. Space InterNet is still at the ARPANet stage, but it is building.

RE: Does Vincent Cerf have Alzheimer's?
By Xavian on 10/19/2007 2:21:59 AM , Rating: 2
This is at least 50 years away (more like 100+) at which point, the technology landscape will certainly be very different than it is today.

If there is one thing that is a certain, its that technology will arrive far faster then anyone thinks it will.

I wouldn't be surprised if this happens 20 years from now. Remember 20 years is a long long time technology wise.

RE: Does Vincent Cerf have Alzheimer's?
By Alexstarfire on 10/19/2007 12:43:25 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, technology arrives slower than everyone thinks it will. You must have been one of those people, forgive me if you aren't his old, in the 70s or 80s who thought that life in 2000 was gonna be like in the sci-fi movies.

Since 1969 how much do you think we have cut down on the time it takes to get from Earth to the moon; hell, even from Earth to space? It's not a very big decrease. We've basically only improved the success rate of the missions.

RE: Does Vincent Cerf have Alzheimer's?
By Alexstarfire on 10/19/2007 12:51:46 PM , Rating: 2
Really wish I could edit posts since I thought about this right after I posted.

Answer me this. What has really changed since 1990? Has anything new come out?

RE: Does Vincent Cerf have Alzheimer's?
By Pauli on 10/19/2007 12:54:48 PM , Rating: 2
Uh, yeah. Widespread use of the Internet for one. Heck, the first real web browser (Mosaic) was still two years away.

By Alexstarfire on 10/20/2007 10:51:45 PM , Rating: 2
Ok, I can give you the internet and probably CDs, but anything else. Nothing in my computer is really new. It's all just an evolution of the old stuff we had. Now it's just smaller and faster. DVDs, HD-DVDs, and Blu-Rays are all evolutions of CDs. Smaller and more compact.

We need some truly revolutionary technology to actually live in outer space and to get to Mars. Revolutionary technology doesn't come along very often.

By Pauli on 10/19/2007 12:51:49 PM , Rating: 2
If there is one thing that is a certain, its that technology will arrive far faster then anyone thinks it will. I wouldn't be surprised if this happens 20 years from now. Remember 20 years is a long long time technology wise.

That's exactly my point. Technology will be constantly changing. 20 years from now, the technology landscape will be quite different than it is today. However, the thought of widespread internet use by people in space with be almost exactly where it is today -- hundreds of years away.

It's lonely...
By helios220 on 10/18/2007 2:11:24 PM , Rating: 4
Finally, we can share our vast planetary porn collection with the galaxy.

Besides, what else are you supposed to do on the 6-8 month journey to Mars? Science? Yeah, riiiiight.

RE: It's lonely...
By murphyslabrat on 10/18/2007 3:35:01 PM , Rating: 2
Finally, we can share our vast planetary porn collection with the galaxy.

Yeah, because all of those weird sluglike creatures have dreamed of seeing the perfect race!

/Star Wars episode VI, Jabba the Hutt and Leia...

RE: It's lonely...
By FITCamaro on 10/18/2007 3:37:31 PM , Rating: 2
Well if we'd actually invest into our space program, we could cut that down. What was the type of engine DT reported on recently that could go from Earth to Mars in like a few days or something?

I think to truly be able to travel inside our own solar system, we're going to need nuclear powered space ships either for propulsion or to drive some other kind of engine. As far as leaving our own solar system, we're going to need contact with an alien race or a feat of genius to develop the technology.

But yes sex is one thing they've factored in when considering trips to Mars.

RE: It's lonely...
By Master Kenobi on 10/18/2007 3:59:03 PM , Rating: 2
That's why they have decided all trips to mars will comprise a 50/50 split of men/women.


RE: It's lonely...
By TomZ on 10/18/2007 4:49:36 PM , Rating: 2
What, no gay astronauts?!? Someone will probably sue!

RE: It's lonely...
By pheffern on 10/18/2007 6:02:40 PM , Rating: 2
I smell a reality TV show.

"Big Brother: Orion."

To be closely followed by the enormously popular but very brief "Survivor: Mars."

RE: It's lonely...
By peternelson on 10/21/2007 5:10:28 AM , Rating: 2
Your reality tv show has already been done, by UK broadcaster Channel 4 in 2005: It was compelling viewing with selected contestants undergoing training, practice and then the launch (see below or google it).

More seriously a problem not mentioned in the article is LATENCY ie the delay in transmissions between earth and other objects. Conventional TCP/IP is two way and uses acknowledgements to confirm reception of packets. That delay on a satellite inet connection is problematic enough eg optimise by changing window size, but when talking of the moon or mars, I don't think the same ack scheme would be practical for long distance. That is why they need to think up some extentions or new standards but it should not be expensive. They likely also want to add more error correction ie by transmitting multiple times and comparing/autocorrection and security of payload and packets. Of course in the future eg 20 years we may have quantum communication somehow instantanteously but for now we need to assume that we won't and come up with something that works at vast latencies, even if just for email and telemetry and image downloading.

"C4 announces spoof space reality show
Wednesday, November 16 2005, 12:08 GMT

By Neil Wilkes, Editor

Channel 4 has announced plans for a new reality series being billed as the "most audacious, complicated and ambitious practical joke in TV history".

Space Cadets, hosted by Johnny Vaughan, will follow a group of "thrill-seeking" members of the public as they undergo intensive space training on a military base in Russia. Four of the lineup will then be selected for the trip of a lifetime - a flight into space.

Unbeknownst to them, however, the whole process is a sham. The Russian military camp is actually a disused army base somewhere in the UK and the five-day voyage into space will be acheived by cutting-edge Imax technology. One of the final four contestants will actually be an actor, planted to stor the pot and paper over any cracks in the tale.

As the trip goes on, things will get stranger and stranger for the clueless cadets.

Vaughan will present live update shows, every night at 9pm on Channel 4 from Wednesday, December 7 until the voyage ends and the hoax is revealed ten days later. Alex Zane will front Space Cadets: The Satellite Show each night at 10pm on E4, where live streaming will feature from December 11.

"We've taken a big risk with Space Cadets, and we don't know who will have the last laugh," said Angela Jain, commissioner of factual entertainment at C4. "But we're hoping it's going to be a really entertaining and unique event in the schedule - a real treat in the run-up to Christmas."

RE: It's lonely...
By Pythias on 10/18/2007 5:11:21 PM , Rating: 2
We'll never get more than halfway there. /Zeno

By Zandros on 10/18/2007 2:23:02 PM , Rating: 2
I'm interested in how they are going to solve the ping times between Mars and Terra. (later on, naturally) How long does it take for light to cross the space between the planets, twelve minutes, twenty?

RE: Mars...
By James Holden on 10/18/2007 2:36:01 PM , Rating: 1
Assuming we don't have some sort of entanglement protocol by then, you could really solve a huge chunk of latency with caching.

RE: Mars...
By omnicronx on 10/18/2007 3:40:52 PM , Rating: 2
From earth to mars is about 3 light minutes, Since the signal would have to go to Mars then bounce back to earth, it would be 6 light minutes for a signal to go to mars and return.
Talk about a laggy game of counter-strike ;)

Lets figure out how to send packets of data faster than the speed of light (see other DT articles where a signal is sent but no data is sent with the signal) before we start talking about the 'SPACE WIDE WEB'

RE: Mars...
By rdeegvainl on 10/19/2007 1:56:57 AM , Rating: 2
this is where a war or two with the buggers would do wonders for our technological advancement, and would could unite all the nations.

RE: Mars...
By Visual on 10/19/2007 6:46:23 AM , Rating: 2
this is only in their closest positions.
if they are on opposite points in their orbits however, you get 8 minutes earth orbit to sun, 8 minutes from sun to other side of earth orbit, 3 minutes from earth orbit to mars.
19 minutes, round up to 20 as it's a rough estimate anyway... this is in one direction, so 40 minutes ping, fun indeed.

we'll just have to do with very delayed chats, and for any actual "browsing" we'll have to use caching proxies.

as to FTL communication, forget it, it's just not possible. it is in the same realm as time-travel, according to our current theories at least.

Solar System Web url
By cubanx on 10/19/2007 4:20:34 AM , Rating: 2
RE: Solar System Web url
By Visual on 10/19/2007 6:52:42 AM , Rating: 2
well, it should be Space Wide Web, as in the article title.

Foooking LAAAAAG
By Chuckles on 10/18/2007 2:17:32 PM , Rating: 3
Just wait and see how ridiculous the ping is from the Moon (~1s), Mars (0:04:22 to 0:20:57), or Saturn (1:06:24 to 1:22:58). Shoot, games of Counterstike go faster than some of those transit times

By Screwuhippie on 10/18/2007 3:41:59 PM , Rating: 3
Ignignokt and Err will finally be able to hack us all

Surf Porn In Uranus!
By nerdye on 10/18/2007 5:09:44 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry guys, I just couldn't resist this one! ;)

By shaw on 10/18/2007 9:12:46 PM , Rating: 2
Space.. the final frontier.. for Piratebay to hide and hopefully not get sued by the world.

Good idea
By howtochooseausername on 10/19/2007 11:38:19 PM , Rating: 2
This is a really good idea. If there was a common channel on all satellites that could relay data it would help the scientific community greatly. There would be fewer dead spots because you could relay information via another satellite.

I wonder how computable the transmission protocols of satellites are today. A common protocol would certainly reduce costs and complexity of designing satellites.

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