Image Source: The Mars Millennium Project.
Popsci is reporting that Google is developing an Internet system that can be used between spacecraft (Hat tip: @swadeshine). Popsci is picking up on an original interview with Google’s 'Chief Internet Evangelist,' Vint Cerf at Network World about the development of an extraterrestrial Internet:
The concept of Interplanetary Internet is about a year old. The Website of the Delay-Tolerant Networking Research Group (DTNRG), an open research group on this question, is here.Google wants to install “InterPlanetary internet protocols” (IP IP?) on spacecraft, using them as an interwoven network of new space-based communication nodes. ... Google realized as far back as 1998 that space-based Internet has problems that don’t face the traditional Internet design — speed-of-light communications are instant on Earth, but at interplanetary distances, that’s slow, and can cause problems. An interplantary network could help overcome these problems.
The approach uses delay-tolerant networking, or Bundle Protocol, as distinct from Internet Protocol. The International Space Station uses Bundle Protocol, which defines blocks of data as a bundle, each of which contains enough information to avoid processing interruptions even in a delay.
This year, Google wants to standardize the interplanetary protocols and make them available to all the space-faring countries. ... “Potentially every spacecraft launched from that time on will be interwoven from a communications point of view. But perhaps more important, when the spacecraft have finished their primary missions, if they are still functionally operable — they have power, computer, communications — they can become nodes in an interplanetary backbone.”