Interplanetary Internet

The other day, there was an AMA session with Elon Musk on Reddit and the topic of interplanetary internet was one of the asked questions. The responses were really interesting. I realized that I have never thought about this concept before.

We are closer to the idea of habituating other planets than ever before. Elon Musk revealed his plan to get humans on Mars in a decade. Whether this will go as expected or not, we can expect to reach this milestone somewhere in the future. What will be the communications between Mars and Earth will be like? Will we be able to send physical packages back and forth? There are really interesting questions that comes with this expected breakthrough.

One of them is the internet. The distance between Earth and Mars vary between 3–22 light minutes so depending on their relative locations, our data would take as long as 22 minutes to reach to other planet. This will bring new aspects to the internet protocols we use, so we need to devise interplanetary protocols and improve things like packet correction and hacking prevention. And this is only between Earth and Mars. When we habitate other planets, this time will be longer. It seems like we will go back to the times where communication took days, even weeks unless we find a way to surpass speed of light.

It would be really awesome to be able to use interplanetary social media though. We could share pictures of Mars with other people, update our status with new planetary experiences. Elon Mask predicts that we can still use Snapchat so maybe I should create one now. =D