Asked by: Robin Turner, Warrington
One way you could get online on Mars is via NASA’s Deep Space Network, which uses three ratio antennae around the globe – in California, Australia and Spain – to exchange data with spacecraft. But the data link would be slow and require some elaborate switching to allow full internet connectivity.
However in November 2008, NASA revealed that it had successfully relayed data via a spacecraft 32 million kilometres away, using a communications system based on the net called Disruption-Tolerant Networking. Originally developed by Vint Cerf, the architect of the protocols that run the internet today, it’s a way of maintaining data connections, despite lengthy time delays and interruptions from solar storms or planets. The plan is to allow the increasing amount of hardware up there to communicate seamlessly using a shared protocol.