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First Interplanetary Internet Test Completed

Nov 19, 2008, 23:03 (1 Talkback[s])

[ Thanks to Scott for this link. ]

"NASA and Vint Cerf, a vice president at Google Inc., in Mountain View, Calif., partnered 10 years ago to develop this software protocol. The DTN sends information using a method that differs from the normal Internet's Transmission-Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, or TCP/IP, communication suite, which Cerf co-designed.

"The Interplanetary Internet must be robust to withstand delays, disruptions and disconnections in space. Glitches can happen when a spacecraft moves behind a planet, or when solar storms and long communication delays occur. The delay in sending or receiving data from Mars takes between three-and-a-half to 20 minutes at the speed of light.

"Unlike TCP/IP on Earth, the DTN does not assume a continuous end-to-end connection. In its design, if a destination path cannot be found, the data packets are not discarded. Instead, each network node keeps the information as long as necessary until it can communicate safely with another node. This store-and-forward method, similar to basketball players safely passing the ball to the player nearest the basket means information does not get lost when no immediate path to the destination exists. Eventually, the information is delivered to the end user."

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