New NASA tech could provide the entire solar system with internet

NASA is celebrating the first deployment of new technology at the International Space Station (ISS) that makes it much easier, faster, and more efficient to transmit data to Earth. Essentially, it’s the first step toward internet connectivity in space that is just as reliable as your home Wi-Fi signal. The new system, called Delay/Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN), provides a smart solution to interrupted connections, and lays the groundwork for Solar System-wide internet connectivity in the not-so-distant future.On Earth, we’re accustomed to what happens when something blocks a wireless internet signal. The connection slows, or even becomes disrupted entirely. For transmissions from ISS, this was a big problem because the objects in the way were large and numerous – planets, other spacecraft, radiation waves, and the like. Those obstacles made the signal slow, and sometimes meant some data was lost in transmission. DTN addresses those pitfalls in the way it transmits data. Rather than streaming bit by bit, the DTN process stores data when and if a connection becomes interrupted, and then forwards it using relay stations to its intended destination. This means the network can function even when a recipient server is offline.

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