Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
NASA Communications Networking Software Space The Internet Wireless Networking IT Technology Science

NASA Fires Up Experimental Space Internet For Robot Control 42

coondoggie writes "NASA said today it had teamed with the European Space Agency to successfully test an experimental version of an 'interplanetary Internet' to control a robot on the ground in Germany from a laptop onboard the International Space Station."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

NASA Fires Up Experimental Space Internet For Robot Control

Comments Filter:
  • by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @04:47PM (#41923883)

    Jeesh, it is a separate network, not a new "internet". People writing technical articles should collaborate with technically skilled people prior to submitting articles. More often than not, they go with option 2 and look foolish to people with technical knowledge. *sigh*

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I fail to see the distinction. What's the difference between a new network and a new internet? When did the internet stop being another network and start being an internet?

      • agree... i feel sorry for the foolish op who assumed he has technical knowledge.

        ahh that explains it... he's apparently a Senior System Engineer/Architect (inferiority complex much)
        who qualifies themself on slashdot anyway? qualifications aren't required for trolling or pointless arguments... maybe he got confused and thought this was where intelligent conversation occurs
    • by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Thursday November 08, 2012 @05:03PM (#41924139)

      "Jeesh, it is a separate network, not a new "internet"."

      You mean I cannot spam the robot with lubrication-Ads?

      • by icebike ( 68054 ) * on Thursday November 08, 2012 @05:17PM (#41924361)

        It was probably up and running all of 47 seconds before the obligatory Frist Post arrived.

        NASA points out the distinction between this network and the internet:

        From NASA: "The core of the DTN suite is the Bundle Protocol (BP), which is roughly equivalent to the Internet Protocol (IP) that serves as the core of the Internet on Earth. While IP assumes a continuous end-to-end data path exists between the user and a remote space system, DTN accounts for disconnections and errors. In DTN, data move through the network "hop-by-hop." While waiting for the next link to become connected, bundles are temporarily stored and then forwarded to the next node when the link becomes available.

        It seems they are paying attention to security, planning for compromised networks, and non-trusted segments, and it is designed to include
        a number of applications including: sensor networks, mobile devices, use of data mules, military communications which involve stressed disconnected and disrupted networks, along with space-based store-and-forward networks.

        That store and forward bit is key, and would be very nice to have here on Earth, if one could find a way to bolt it onto the existing internet. Currently the closest we have is Email and Cellular Text Messages for this type of stuff. Having been cut off from a remote server due to storm damage with only intermittent contact, I can see where it would be nice to have such capability. (To say nothing about political turmoil where governments try to shut down the net.)

        • Having been cut off from a remote server due to storm damage with only intermittent contact, I can see where it would be nice to have such capability.

          So that when you do get connectivity back you spend the next 24 hours getting all the backlogged spam that got dropped?

          • by icebike ( 68054 ) *

            Having been cut off from a remote server due to storm damage with only intermittent contact, I can see where it would be nice to have such capability.

            So that when you do get connectivity back you spend the next 24 hours getting all the backlogged spam that got dropped?

            Since email is already Store and Forward, I fail to see your point here. You are going to get that anyway.

            • Well the "random" hack attempts that come in every 5 seconds looking for unpatched windows 95/xp boxes on the Internet.

        • by s.petry ( 762400 )

          Perhaps you should work on your karma a bit, my karma is excellent so I get options to post before most users. Er wait, everything that happens that you can't understand must be a bot right? Or better, it had to be the submitter that did it... there is no other reason for people to post early.

          I didn't mention the security of the network, it's logical. I worked in DOD for nearly a decade, I get security and separation probably better than most. My complaint was that the wording used is completely incorre

    • by Zephyn ( 415698 )

      The name choice is quite simple. If you call it an interplanetary internet, it's much more attractive to interplanetary spammers, thus increasing the chances of making first contact.

      I'd go into further detail, but there's this exiled prince from Gliese 317 who's asking for my help regarding some sort of currency transfer.

      • there's this exiled prince from Gliese 317 who's asking for my help regarding some sort of currency transfer

        what!!! i've already patented interplanetary money laundering... expect a visit from my attorney

    • Are you sure it's an interplanetary network and not an intraplanetary network since it's not technically between two or more planets but rather from LEO to the surface of the same planet?
    • Internet2 is not even released to everywhere. :P

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't that require it to involve more then 1 planet?

  • Ping (Score:2, Funny)

    by Sla$hPot ( 1189603 )

    Whats is the ping time for Proxima Centauri gonna be?
    (2260080*2)s + ~10ms ?

    • if both ends ping each other at the same time the pings might collide and form a black hole... it is 2012 after all
  • Will someone please let John Conner know that the latest Skynet activation date is November 8, 2012. Time for another Terminator movie to push the date back again, before it becomes self aware!
  • by captain_dope_pants ( 842414 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @04:58PM (#41924053)
    If we're controlling robots from space then I for one welcome our new robotic underlords.
  • The ISS, as far as I can tell, already has access to the Internet. This is a new set of routing protocols designed to be more useful over intermittent and high-latency links such as those present in space.
  • Must be a slow month on the ISS. There's no reason that testing this should actually involve having someone in space operate a robot on the ground.

    • Well, it's probaby so that they can say that they tested the system with the same type of latency-lag that an Earth-ISSorbit / Earth-Space telcom link would have.
      Of course, they could have done the same demo with everything on Earth just by introducing the lag into the telcom lines anyway. But hey, it's talking to space! Just like all of the new fangled patents and inventions that say we'll do XXyyZZ on the internets as if changing the telcom medium really changes it. C'est la vie.
  • by Trax3001BBS ( 2368736 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @09:15PM (#41927133) Homepage Journal

    The Last Question by Isaac Asimov © 1956
    From []

    The last question was asked for the first time, half in jest, on May 21, 2061, at a time
    when humanity first stepped into the light. The question came about as a result of a five
    dollar bet over highballs, and it happened this way:
    Alexander Adell and Bertram Lupov were two of the faithful attendants of Multivac. As
    well as any human beings could, they knew what lay behind the cold, clicking, flashing
    face -- miles and miles of face -- of that giant computer. They had at least a vague notion
    of the general plan of relays and circuits that had long since grown past the point where
    any single human could possibly have a firm grasp of the whole.
    Multivac was self-adjusting and self-correcting. It had to be, for nothing human could
    adjust and correct it quickly enough or even adequately enough -- so Adell and Lupov
    attended the monstrous giant only lightly and superficially, yet as well as any men could.
    They fed it data, adjusted questions to its needs and translated the answers that were
    issued. Certainly they, and all others like them, were fully entitled to share In the glory
    that was Multivac's.
    For decades, Multivac had helped design the ships and plot the trajectories that enabled
    man to reach the Moon, Mars, and Venus, but past that, Earth's poor resources could
    not support the ships. Too much energy was needed for the long trips. Earth exploited its
    coal and uranium with increasing efficiency, but there was only so much of both.
    But slowly Multivac learned enough to answer deeper questions more fundamentally,
    and on May 14, 2061, what had been theory, became fact.
    The energy of the sun was stored, converted, and utilized directly on a planet-wide
    scale. All Earth turned off its burning coal, its fissioning uranium, and flipped the switch
    that connected all of it to a small station, one mile in diameter, circling the Earth at half
    the distance of the Moon. All Earth ran by invisible beams of sunpower.
    Seven days had not sufficed to dim the glory of it and Adell and Lupov finally managed
    to escape from the public function, and to meet in quiet where no one would think of
    looking for them, in the deserted underground chambers, where portions of the mighty
    buried body of Multivac showed. Unattended, idling, sorting data with contented lazy
    clickings, Multivac, too, had earned its vacation and the boys appreciated that. They had
    no intention, originally, of disturbing it.
    They had brought a bottle with them, and their only concern at the moment was to relax
    in the company of each other and the bottle.
    "It's amazing when you think of it," said Adell. His broad face had lines of weariness in it,
    and he stirred his drink slowly with a glass rod, watching the cubes of ice slur clumsily
    about. "All the energy we can possibly ever use for free. Enough energy, if we wanted to
    draw on it, to melt all Earth into a big drop of impure liquid iron, and still never miss the
    energy so used. All the energy we could ever use, forever and forever and forever."
    Lupov cocked his head sideways. He had a trick of doing that when he wanted to be
    contrary, and he wanted to be contrary now, partly because he had had to carry the ice
    and glassware. "Not forever," he said.
    "Oh, hell, just about forever. Till the sun runs down, Bert."
    "That's not forever."
    "All right, then. Billions and billions of years. Twenty billion, maybe. Are you satisfied?"
    Lupov put his fingers through his thinning hair as though to reassure himself that some
    was still left and sipped gently at his own drink. "Twenty billion years isn't forever."
    "Will, it will last our time, won't it?"
    "So would the coal and uranium." "All right, but now we can hook up each individual spaceship to the Solar Station, and it
    can go to Pluto and back a million times without ever worrying about

  • Did NASA's space network immediately encounter an existing alien network and go mad?
  • Related links for this article:
    DTN Research Group: []
    lots of docs: []
    overview presentation: []

    The book: []
    Wikipedia: []

    Source code: []

    Oh and yes, theoretically this extends the Internet in the same way that various other protocols do, eg 6lowpan etc.

"Call immediately. Time is running out. We both need to do something monstrous before we die." -- Message from Ralph Steadman to Hunter Thompson