We suppose that NASA is in the business of making the impossible a reality, so it shouldn’t surprise us to see some of the headlines coming out of the division. NASA recently made the news for their work on interplanetary internet communications. Yeah, the work that NASA is doing is as epic as it sounds. Just this last week, NASA was able to send a self from Antarctica all the way up to the International Space Station using a special and robust communication network. The goal of this network is to start crafting an interplanetary internet that can be used in the near future.
It probably stands to reason, but in outer space, it is absolutely imperative that wireless communication networks are operating at peak capacity. These wireless networks help astronauts and their spacecraft to stay in contact with people back home on Earth. With a network failure at home, you get a little bit annoyed. A network failure in outer space could leave an astronaut stranded or killed. This is more than just a fluffy event that NASA has been able to perform and this selfie is so much more than just a selfie. It is a symbol that NASA will be able to make some very real network advances in outer space.
NASA has been working on making redundancy part of their networked platform. The goal of redundancy is to give the connection multiple ways to push through to its ultimate destination. Having a redundant network means that even if one pathway fails, there will be another pathway to pick up the slack. What makes this particularly difficult in space is that your ship and your signal aren’t always going to be in a direct line with one another. This means that NASA must always be ready, able, and willing to find solutions to these unique problems.
What makes NASA’s selfie-to-space so important is that it was beamed to the space station with a disruption-tolerant network. Disruption can lead to long delays and on Earth would be reminiscent of when a video or television station lags. However, in space, these same disruptions would normally have the ability to delay or destroy a message. Having a disruption-tolerant network means that even these big disruptions won’t be enough to stop the data from reaching the ultimate travel destination, thus making it a secure shipment of information.