Saturday, November 10, 2012
New Internet Capabilities Being Tested
Astronaut Sunita Williams, commander of the International Space Station‘s current Expedition 33 mission, used NASA’s experimental Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN) protocol to drive a small LEGO robot at the European Space Operations Center in Germany late last month.
‘It may one day be used by humans on a spacecraft in orbit around Mars to operate ro
bots on the surface.’
– Badri Younes, NASA space communications
to operate robots on the surface, or from Earth using orbiting satellites as relay stations,” Younes added.NASA’s DTN architecture is a new technology designed to enable standardized communications over long distances and through time delays, agency officials said. At its core is something called the Bundle Protocol (BP), which is similar to the Internet Protocol, or IP, that serves as the heart of the Internet here on Earth.
The big difference between the two is that IP assumes a seamless end-to-end data path, while BP is built to account for errors and disconnections — glitches that commonly plague deep-space communications.
Data move through the BP network in a series of short hops, waiting at one node until the next link becomes available, NASA officials said.
The space station’s current Expedition 33 consists of six crewmembers: NASA astronauts Williams and Kevin Ford, Japanese spaceflyer Akihiko Hoshide and Russian cosmonauts Yuri Malenchenko, Evgeny Tarelkin and Oleg Novitskiy.