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.

"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes
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