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Quad Lasers Deliver Fast, Earth-Based Internet To the Moon

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the but-the-latency dept.

Communications 131

A joint project involving NASA and MIT researchers had demonstrated technology last year that could supply a lunar colony with broadband via lasers ("faster Internet access than many U.S. homes get") and has already demonstrated its worth in communications with spacecraft. From ComputerWorld's article: "The Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) kicked off last September with the launch of NASA's LADEE (Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer), a research satellite [formerly] orbiting the moon. NASA built a laser communications module into LADEE for use in the high-speed wireless experiment. LLCD has already proved itself, transmitting data from LADEE to Earth at 622Mbps (bits per second) and in the other direction at 19.44Mbps, according to MIT. It beat the fastest-ever radio communication to the moon by a factor of 4,800." Communicating at such distances means overcoming various challenges; one of the biggest is the variability in Earth's atmosphere. The LLCD didn't try to power through the atmosphere at only one spot, therefore, but used four separate beams in the New Mexico desert, each aimed "through a different column of air, where the light-bending effects of the atmosphere are slightly different. That increased the chance that at least one of the beams would reach the receiver on the LADEE. Test results [were] promising, according to MIT, with the 384,633-kilometer optical link providing error-free performance in both darkness and bright sunlight, through partly transparent thin clouds, and through atmospheric turbulence that affected signal power." At the CLEO: 2014 conference in June, researchers will provide a comprehensive explanation of how it worked.

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ping rate (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47088433)

gaming's going to suck

Re:ping rate (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47088523)

Astronauts tend to be educated with plenty of intelligence and over 12 so I doubt many will play Call of Duty. Games like Civilization 5 however are perfect. :)

Re:Civ 5 (2)

ozduo (2043408) | about 6 months ago | (#47089235)

I think they will be playing civilization beyond earth https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] which is due out soon. I know I will!

latency (1)

Lennie (16154) | about 6 months ago | (#47088529)

Exactly, more bandwidth could be less important than latency:
http://pandawhale.com/post/396... [pandawhale.com]

Re:latency (2)

Kjella (173770) | about 6 months ago | (#47088739)

Well since the dominating factor in earth-moon communication is the speed of light with 2.6 seconds round trip you'll never have decent latency anyway, for the same reason we'll never have global FPS servers working well. Halfway around the the earth (20000 km) with light going about 2/3c in fiber optics is 100 ms just here on earth. And Mars is 8-40 minutes away round trip, which is a far more likely site for a colony. That said, if you were stuck in a cramped little base - the initial versions will probably make prisons look spacious - at least you'd have the latest Game of Thrones to watch.

Re:ping rate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47088537)

didn't Laddee Auger in?

that sucks

Re:ping rate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47088587)

Yeah, battle.net is going to have to get servers on the moon before the moon can support its own gaming culture

Re:ping rate (2)

meerling (1487879) | about 6 months ago | (#47088835)

If you ever have extended occupancy a computer geek, and 8 lbs of discretionary cargo, there will be a game server on the moon. Maybe a few more pounds if you need your own power source.

Re:ping rate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47089813)

yeah, they can run bnetd if they are outside the reach of the DMCA

Re:ping rate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47088645)

Yeah. Even at the speed of light, that's about two and a half full seconds of round-trip latency.

Re:ping rate (2)

Lisias (447563) | about 6 months ago | (#47089165)

gaming's going to suck

On the other hand, PR0N is going to rock! :-)

Re:ping rate (2)

arth1 (260657) | about 6 months ago | (#47090673)

On the other hand, PR0N is going to rock! :-)

Low gravity boobs and ceiling stains?

Re:ping rate (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 6 months ago | (#47091105)

that's OK. there's a data cap of 10Mb/month.

DUH (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47088441)

The moon rulez!

Suck it earth scum! You can't deny it.

Re:DUH (5, Funny)

linearz69 (3473163) | about 6 months ago | (#47088481)

No one can defeat the quad laser. The bullet is enormous, there is no escaping.

Re:DUH (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47088511)

Jumping...is useless!

Re:DUH (1)

wooferhound (546132) | about 6 months ago | (#47088659)

I'm going to build my Moon Internet Communications System with 11 lasers
and I'm going to hire sharks to aim them

Re:DUH (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47088949)

Just came here to see if someone would make this reference, in just 13m I'm not dissapointed

Re:DUH (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47091173)

I hope you can see this, cause I'm doing it as hard as I can.

To the Moon, eh? (3, Funny)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 6 months ago | (#47088453)

"faster Internet access than many U.S. homes get"

That's not hard to do. In the United States, our high speed Internet is much like our high speed rail...

The moon, eh? This will be important when we get around to mining the moon into a block of Swiss cheese for whatever mineral riches it possesses. I predict China will be the first, and we Americans will follow soon after they have opened the door.

Re:To the Moon, eh? (5, Funny)

elsuperjefe (1487639) | about 6 months ago | (#47088563)

...

The moon, eh? This will be important when we get around to mining the moon into a block of Swiss cheese for whatever mineral riches it possesses. I predict China will be the first, and we Americans will follow soon after they have opened the door.

cheese is not at all popular in China. i predict the French will pioneer this mining effort, or maybe the Swiss... not sure.

Re:To the Moon, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47088821)

Just die...

Re:To the Moon, eh? (4, Funny)

Lallander (968402) | about 6 months ago | (#47090739)

The Swiss? I think there are some holes in your theory...

Re:To the Moon, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47088567)

The way we are going, it will be a very long time before we get enough financial justification to mine the moon

The materials that we use on earth are plentiful enough and the only justification would be industries that want to pay a lower cost of launching from 1/6th earth gravity for materials that they want to use in space

If we go the path of heading straight to asteroids for materials, then we avoid all launch costs and are just paying to move the payload between orbits around the sun

The downside of zero gravity industrialization would be the high cost on human health trying to live in that environment... most likely leading to high levels of automation and low human interaction

The only reason to industrialize he moon is if we want to be along for the ride, something that seems to be a very low priority in the US

Re:To the Moon, eh? (1)

meerling (1487879) | about 6 months ago | (#47088867)

"The materials that we use on earth are plentiful enough..." except for those that we don't use because they are NOT plentiful enough on earth, like Helium 3. There are plenty of others as well. And yes, even if a resource were available on Earth, if it would be cheaper to obtain it from a non-terrestrial source, somebody will attempt to do so.

Re:To the Moon, eh? (2)

arth1 (260657) | about 6 months ago | (#47090719)

"The materials that we use on earth are plentiful enough..." except for those that we don't use because they are NOT plentiful enough on earth, like Helium 3. There are plenty of others as well.

But which of those are available on the moon? Certainly not He3. The elements that the moon are much richer in than Earth seems to be those Earth still has plenty of, like Iron, Calcium, Magnesium and Titanium.

Also, you may mine the ore, but what do you do with it then? Any economically viable techniques for converting ore into usable concentrations of elements depend on an atmosphere. We'd need some completely new technologies, and chances are that if we find them, they will work just fine on Earth too.

I think a moonbase would be a good thing, but not for resource exploitation. Instead, what the moon has is low gravity and no athmosphere. Those are the characteristics that can't be replicated down here.

Re:To the Moon, eh? (1)

WhiteZook (3647835) | about 6 months ago | (#47090993)

Except that we currently have no use for Helium 3, and it's not even sure we will have such use in the future (there are other options for fusion fuel). And even if we have a need for Helium 3, it may be cheaper to produce it here on Earth.

Re:To the Moon, eh? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 6 months ago | (#47091135)

He3 is fuel for a type of reactor no-one has yet managed to make, and that can be operated on less-exotic hydrogen isotopes anyway.

Re:To the Moon, eh? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 6 months ago | (#47088699)

It takes 2.4 seconds for light to make a round-trip to the moon. With that kind of added latency, it's not going to feel high-speed, especially with 'modern' javascript web apps that make multiple sequential round-trips for each page.

Re:To the Moon, eh? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 6 months ago | (#47088741)

With that kind of added latency, it's not going to feel high-speed...

Clearly we are going to have to build a large server farm on the Moon if the users there expect to stream Netflix.

Re:To the Moon, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47088795)

do robots dream of streaming movies?

Re:To the Moon, eh? (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about 6 months ago | (#47088801)

Clearly we are going to have to build a large server farm on the Moon if the users there expect to stream Netflix.

Indeed. When working on a large project like this, I always suggest focusing on the most important parts first.

Re:To the Moon, eh? (1)

Adriax (746043) | about 6 months ago | (#47089359)

Then why netflix? Why wasn't porn the first thing mentioned?

Re:To the Moon, eh? (1)

Imrik (148191) | about 6 months ago | (#47089009)

Not necessary, streaming is mostly bandwidth dependent, not latency dependent. It might take an extra few seconds before your show starts but that's fairly inconsequential. Browsing the web and playing games are far more problematic.

Re:To the Moon, eh? (1)

Miamicanes (730264) | about 6 months ago | (#47089879)

At some point, if there are enough consumers living beyond Earth orbit to commercially matter to normal web sites (or their future equivalent), the most logical step would be to allow web applications to bundle themselves and their data in a way that allows the web app ITSELF to be automatically deployed to a remote virtual server closer to the end user & sync its mirror of the database with the authoritative one back on earth (multicasting most of the replicated data from earth to elsewhere & caching it blindly at the local end to the greatest extent possible).

The basic technology already exists today (think: .war files and databases with replication, load-balancing, and hot failover), but the number of users (say, passengers on a cruise ship) is too small relative to the expense & currently-insurmountable licensing barriers (Oracle isn't going to start making "replicant" licenses for Oracle and MySQL available that would be remotely cost-effective anytime soon).

A lot of people forget that the annoying habit some websites have of using AJAX to send data nonstop keystroke-by-keystroke is a plague of fairly recent origin. There's no reason why web applications HAVE to be written that way. If latency is high, but bandwidth is abundant, it makes more sense to satisfy the request by bulk-sending everything the requestor is likely to want anytime soon, and do it in a way that allows it to be cached locally for the benefit of others who might make the same request later.

Re:To the Moon, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47089037)

I predict we will be a war with China before they make it to the moon. we are not going to let them get up there and claim it as their own like they are doing with the South China Sea that is clearly international waters.

Re:To the Moon, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47089837)

Law is already in place, that in interpretation, allows mining, but no claim of ownership to the celestial body
http://www.nss.org/settlement/nasa/spaceresvol4/spacelaw.html

yay, war averted... Just don't forget that any future moon settlers would always be standing uphill in a rock fight with the earth
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Moon_Is_a_Harsh_Mistress

Re:To the Moon, eh? (1)

cavreader (1903280) | about 6 months ago | (#47090375)

And who exactly is going to enforce the law? The same people who enforce all the varied UN declarations and edicts?

To the Moon, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47089039)

You've got nothing on Australia... Bicycle To The Home anyone? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TptIs0k-spg

Scotty . . . (1)

hduff (570443) | about 6 months ago | (#47088455)

Beam me up.

Re:Scotty . . . (1)

gmhowell (26755) | about 6 months ago | (#47089607)

Snotty beamed me twice last night. It was wonderful.

Redundancy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47088461)

Who would have thought!? Genius!

Re:Redundancy (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 6 months ago | (#47088475)

Fuck everything, we are doing five beams!!!

Well ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47088469)

High bandwidth is great for large transfers, but the latency might make casual browsing difficult.

They can send a ping to the moon.... (4, Informative)

waddgodd (34934) | about 6 months ago | (#47088477)

So show of hands here, who has a 622 Mbps at home? That's right, as of this article, your "last mile" officially sucks more than LADEE's last 250,000 miles

Re:They can send a ping to the moon.... (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 6 months ago | (#47088527)

So show of hands here, who has a 622 Mbps at home? That's right, as of this article, your "last mile" officially sucks more than LADEE's last 250,000 miles

You're paying $29.99 a month.
LADEE cost over $300 million.

Re:They can send a ping to the moon.... (1)

click2005 (921437) | about 6 months ago | (#47088581)

LADEE cost over $300 million.

Yeah and with Comcast as an ISP its stuck with a 30GB/month bandwidth cap too.

Re:They can send a ping to the moon.... (1)

dugancent (2616577) | about 6 months ago | (#47088681)

It's 300, not 30, and they aren't enforcing it.

Re:They can send a ping to the moon.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47088843)

Comcast's cap is 250GB/month* and I assure you they are most certainly enforcing it. I've been subjected to throttled speeds a couple times already and it's extremely painful.

(*Except Huntsville and Mobile, AL; Atlanta, Augusta and Savannah, GA; Central Kentucky; Maine; Jackson, MS; Knoxville and Memphis, TN; and Charleston, SC where the cap is 300GB/month.)

Re:They can send a ping to the moon.... (1)

dugancent (2616577) | about 6 months ago | (#47090167)

I just checked my Comcast and it states "not currently enforced".

Re:They can send a ping to the moon.... (1)

rockout (1039072) | about 6 months ago | (#47090833)

Oh, well if COMCAST says it, it must be true.

Re:They can send a ping to the moon.... (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 6 months ago | (#47089503)

And they have longer months on the moon too...

Re:They can send a ping to the moon.... (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 6 months ago | (#47089187)

At that price, they might as well go for Internet2 connectivity

Re:They can send a ping to the moon.... (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about 6 months ago | (#47088585)

I do. 1000 Mbit, to be exact. 18 bucks a month, give or take.
Problem?

Re:They can send a ping to the moon.... (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 6 months ago | (#47089013)

i take it you are not in the US?

Re:They can send a ping to the moon.... (2)

war4peace (1628283) | about 6 months ago | (#47091045)

Nope. I'm located in a third world country.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47089447)

When you have a 1Gbps connection to a tier 1 provider who's peered with multiple other tier 1 providers on Nx100Gbps Etherbundles at the same location as your handoff, then you have a 1Gbps connection. Otherwise, you have a 1Gbps access-rate to a massively-oversubscribed PE node, but which fortunately at this point, can fill all users' bandwidth needs because no one actually needs as much bandwidth as they think they do.

Re:No (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about 6 months ago | (#47091055)

Now that's just nitpicking.
All I know is that the vast majority of the stuff I attempt to download is coming in at highest speed my HDD could download. As a home user, that's heaven.
All else is useless detail.

Re:They can send a ping to the moon.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47088729)

> 622 Mbps...officially sucks

Considering that is almost 700 times faster than the fastest connection that is available to the block where I live near downtown Seattle, "officially sucks" is a huge understatement.

That is far faster than (3, Funny)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | about 6 months ago | (#47088485)

their last one [youtube.com]

comcast moon will still cap you at 250GB (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 6 months ago | (#47088507)

and then $10 per each 50GB over that.

Bad Journalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47088519)

Control-F latency no results found.

384400 kilometers (earth to moon distance according to google) at speed of light is about 1.3 seconds, round trip that's 2.6 seconds.

That is pretty terrible but absolutely unavoidable.

But any article about broadband on the moon that does not discuss latency is shit journalism at best.

Re:Bad Journalism (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 6 months ago | (#47088535)

So you're saying no pro series astronaut FPS earth deathmatching?

Re:Bad Journalism (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 6 months ago | (#47088649)

Just needs a good CDN.

Obsolete Article (5, Informative)

craighansen (744648) | about 6 months ago | (#47088539)

Readers here should know that LADEE was crashed into the moon more than a month ago. Yes, NASA did research on laser communication using LADEE, but reporting it in present tense is misleading. (...and the last Slashdot article on LADEE incorrectly reported where it crashed.) Previous Slashdot articles already reported the laser communication research.

Re:Obsolete Article (1)

phizi0n (1237812) | about 6 months ago | (#47088789)

This article was submitted through the crashed LADEE so it took a while for it to align with Earth perfectly for us to finally receive it.

Re:Obsolete Article (2)

Soulskill (1459) | about 6 months ago | (#47089217)

You're right. I've updated the article to correct the tenses. Thanks.

New Lunar Quad Laser Internet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47088547)

The fastest internet connection for your lunar internet needs.
Fastest Speeds ever.*
No data cap.**
Stream all your favorite videos.***

*Speeds of 0kbps or higher meet the terms of service for this plan.
**Up to 400 MB a month, then overage charges of $10,000.00 for each additional MB.
***Assuming that the CDN's pay to access our high speed lunar link.

Comcast, bringing the best of the internet to the moon. Because, f**k you, that's why.

Let's be realistic (4, Insightful)

WhiteZook (3647835) | about 6 months ago | (#47088549)

NASA can't even afford a decent space telescope, so why would anybody think they can afford to build a lunar colony that would require such as laser system ?

Re:Let's be realistic (1)

nateman1352 (971364) | about 6 months ago | (#47088847)

I don't think anyone at NASA thinks that it will be NASA to benefit from this research. The US government's research projects are generally funded to provide pioneering foreward looking technologies that no private company would invest in developing until 10+ years from now. So that way when private industry does need that technologythey already have something to get started from.

The one exception of course is development of new weapons and military systems.

Re:Let's be realistic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47089667)

The goal isn't for communicating to a colony, but communicating with satellites and probes, including ones that may not be in low Earth orbit or Earth orbit at all. This can include options other than just maxing out bandwidth at any cost, but showing there will be lower power options. The result will allow things like space telescopes to be built smaller and using less resources while still maintaining the same science goals.

Realistically, how else will... (1)

jpellino (202698) | about 6 months ago | (#47090259)

Newt [go.com] keep up on events without streaming Fox News?

Re:Let's be realistic (1)

cavreader (1903280) | about 6 months ago | (#47090497)

When it comes to space related projects there needs to be a return on the investment to bolster future funding. Even "vapor" returns can provide the political cover necessary to increase funding. The money NASA has spent over the years has returned a wealth of technological data but nothing that could realistically cover the initial project expense. However, over the years NASA has received funding regardless of the expected return on the investment. If someone wants to mine helium 3 on the moon it should be the corporations or individuals who stand to benefit the most providing the funding. Commercial projects have a better chance of expanding into the solar system than any government run programs.

Mooninite Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47088671)

No one can defeat the quad laser.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNYMxgNKIEU

Quad Laser (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47088673)

Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47088749)

First Spam from Space

U/L vs D/L (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47088755)

That's typical - a decent download speed at 622 MBps, but the upload sucks again, so Moondwellers wouldn't be able to run their own servers!

Re:U/L vs D/L (1)

Imrik (148191) | about 6 months ago | (#47089033)

You've got it backwards, the high speed is moon->earth, earth->moon is the slow one.

What? (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 6 months ago | (#47088823)

Earth-based? As opposed to what, Internet from Mars?

Why Moon (1)

NotInHere (3654617) | about 6 months ago | (#47088833)

Why do you want to connect the moon with the Internet? There is nobody on the moon. You should rather try to establish a 24h broadband connection to the ISS, which currently doesn't exist (its only a couple of hours per day when you can make video connections to ISS).

Moon Unit Zappa (1)

dlb (17444) | about 6 months ago | (#47088871)

Obviously, they meant Quad "Lasers".

English, do you speak it? (1)

Arker (91948) | about 6 months ago | (#47089081)

It seems at this point the marketeer assault on the English language has proceeded to the point where even NASA does not understand what speed is.

The link described is a very slow pipe by any measure, and that is imposed by the distance involved and the speed of light itself. It is the dimension of *width* they compare, which cannot in any reasonable way be equated with speed. If 'speed' is measured by bandwidth, then it would follow that a semi tractor with two trailers is much faster than a Maserati.

Yeah. Right.

Re:English, do you speak it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47089571)

Let's have a race between the semi trailer and your maserati. The race is to bring me 1000 folding chairs. So in terms of fastest (hence speed) time to deliver that much cargo, the truck wins.

Re:English, do you speak it? (1)

gmhowell (26755) | about 6 months ago | (#47089621)

Don't be an idiot. If you have to move 75,000 pounds of freight, the semi is much faster than the Maserati.

Mooninites, unite. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47089129)

No one can defeat the quad laser:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNYMxgNKIEU&feature=kp

Broadband sorted, now we just need a rocket (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47089437)

I hear the Russians have one O_o

Gotta quad laser - it will amaze 'ya! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47089485)

Check it out 'yall, check it, check it out [youtube.com]

The mooninites will GREATLY appreciate this.

Your Installation Appointment is (1)

zawarski (1381571) | about 6 months ago | (#47089615)

Thursday between 8:00am and 5:00pm. Installer will need access to home. Please have any dogs properly confined. Thank You Time Warner Cable

Lasers? Is this the 20th century or something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47089915)

I prefer to use a subspace transceiver. I get about 50 billion gigaquads/sec.

sharks! (1)

Spugglefink (1041680) | about 6 months ago | (#47090235)

There's going to be hell to pay when the sharks get ahold of these things.

Latentcy isn't just sucky for games. (1)

aldousd666 (640240) | about 6 months ago | (#47090251)

It's like HughesNet on the moon. Gaming and anything else like remote viewers (RDP, conference calling, etc) apps will suck too. It's kinda like how on CNN when you see those Satellite uplink interviews where they pause for like 5 seconds between questions and answers, except for everything. After having DirecWay on the side of my house for less than the 30 day trial period, I have a new respect for people remote controlling the rover on mars.

What are they using for a detector? (2)

storkus (179708) | about 6 months ago | (#47090307)

Incoming power at the satellite is stated as a nanowatt. I'm pretty sure this puts it way below the threshold of most, if not all, solid state optical detectors. I'm thinking some kind of FAST photomultiplier tube, but I really have no idea. Any thoughts?

Think of using something like this to transmit terrestrially through air of many miles/kilometers distance RELIABLY rather than the one or (if you're lucky) two you get today: it would be a godsend and could replace a LOT of metro microwave (depending on which city and its local climate, of course) without having to lay fiber. Its the unlicensed holy grail, really.

Lunar Colony (1)

countach (534280) | about 6 months ago | (#47090381)

We have a lunar colony? Who knew?

I suppose its symptomatic of the generation that we can't think about the logistics of a real lunar colony until we figure out how they would get their internet porn.

Cool. (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about 6 months ago | (#47090425)

We'll get to watch the colonists in HD video as they die of radiation from a coronal mass ejection.

I am deeply skeptical of a moon colony. I really don't think it will ever happen.

Re:Cool. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 6 months ago | (#47091145)

It could be done, but there's no reason to - it'd be one of the most expensive projects in all of human history, and for what? It's not economical to mine, there's no national pride to be had now, and the science may be valuable but not that valuable.

We'll probably still be having this debate when someone discovers the mountain-sized rock heading towards Earth.

Well it's comparatively easy (1)

Casandro (751346) | about 6 months ago | (#47090631)

There is, apart from some clouds, nothing in between. Those are ideal conditions. Considering that even the radio links of the moon missions had a few megabits of channel capacity, that's not very much. (Yes those links were analog, but Shannon has showed that you can still express the capacity of such a channel in bits or shannons)

Just a thought (2)

Draugo (1674528) | about 6 months ago | (#47090855)

But wouldn't it be easier to have a satellite on earth orbit that was locked on the same apparent orbit than moon and then transmit data through that. By communicating with that satellite using radio and then from that satellite to moon using laser you wouldn't have to work the laser through the atmosphere and after you establish a stable station on moon with a line of sight to earth you would have a continuous beam channel going.

Leverage Physics of Reality for its best Use. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47091101)

There are two problems: One to many, and point to point. This is true in routing and packet forward networking. You will want an end to end connection to do more "realtime" or "parcipitative" or "dynamic" communications (in a relative sense). However, you will also want to have a database of information that is pushed towards the endpoints and cached, ready for their request. This is what RF is good at because it can broadcast data out to multiple points omni-directionally or via a cone, to service multiple targets at once (in case one receiver is down), which can the repeat the process (and clone to nearby receivers who were down). Point to point can serve as a link between larger static caches as well.

Imagine you emailed your lunar friend a link to a video about puppies playing. The email update comes in over the point-to-point. When they click the link, the video instantly starts playing because it is already on the moon because others have already requested that video and it is stored in the cache. They get the puppy video from their neighbor or the neighborhood cache, or the "celestial" cache, on up to the source if need be. That one video is only ever transferred to the moon ONCE. Ah, but what if someone renames the video? Oh noes! Then there is two copies if URLs are used as the identifying signature. Which illustrates why URLs are the dumbest way to identify information ever. What you want is to refer to the information by its fingerprint. A readable name can point to a hash as the resource ID. That way the puppie video can have thousands of names, but the cache will still only contain one copy of that video. Infohashes deduplicate resourses. NASA needs to incorporate some aspects of Bittorrent into their network to make it practical.

I think we need a terrestrial version of NASA's DTN (Disruption Tolerant Network). The Internet already showed us that the idea of resources residing on a "server" at a URL is moronic: That's not how the current Internet even works: caches exist. Data comes from caches if possible. We need to re-evaluate the terrestrial Internet and leverage our one-to-many RF tech to enhance the point to point laser network (hint: firberoptics are tubes for lasers).

TL;DR: Use the communication method that the inherent nature of the universe favors for the given problem space.

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