Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Where the Imagination Goes...

Super Fast Interplanetary Internet

Does interplanetary internet sound like science fiction of the future? You might be surprised. Read on.

Right now, the Surrey Satellite Technology is beaming super-fast terrestrial internet into space to control 14 satellites. That's a really exciting idea, but possibilities for the future are even more inspiring.

Vint Cerf, the computer scientist who invented the internet is now applying his expertise to applications in outer space. In a Channel4.com article he said: "It's very early days yet, but...[we believe] 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."

But how is this possible?  Unlike Earth to orbiting satellites, planets don't remain in the same proximity, they travel on huge orbits and are at times on opposite sides of the sun so the signals must cover enormous distances. So how can this be achieved? 

According to the article "The new interplanetary internet system will relay the signal to spacecraft spread across the solar system in bite-sized chunks, speeding up the time it takes to send data back to earth."

That's exciting enough. But it gets better.

Super fast interstellar internet might one day be used to explore nearby stars. Cerf said, "To do that, we're going to need a network of sensors that literally span the solar system and can pick up this weak signal that's coming back from a robot near Alpha Centauri. It's like everything else: engineering turning science fiction into reality."

Surrey Satellite Technology is already speeding up communications to Mars exploratory missions, and later this year they plan to launch seven new satellites that will be connected to the interplanetary internet system.

Just think of the possibilities in SFR where interspace communications are necessary! Have you used a similar idea in your work?

Read the entire Channel4.com article, dated October 9, 2011


  1. This is really fantastic Laurie! I need to read up on this before I can make a good comment, but it sounds like the future is now and sf is coming about as we always knew it would.

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Kaye.

    I think there's a lot of inspiration to be found in today's amazing technology. I'm always thinking...hmm, how can I envision this being used in the future. Part of the fun of writing SF/R!


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