That’s genius: ‘E.T., e-mail home’ and other adventures in deep-space Internet with JPL’s Scott Burleigh



Scott Burleigh of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory is one among a consortium of scientists and computer programmers working to turn interplanetary Internet from science fiction to reality.

The deep-space Internet, which had to be specially designed to withstand the tumult of extraterrestrial existence, has already been tested by NASA and may be up and running for practical use on real missions in the blink of a Space Eye.

The new networking protocols that make up this Internet are delay-tolerant, so as to protect and pass on data even amid the regular transmission glitches that happen, for example, when a spacecraft moves behind a celestial body or a solar storm flares up.

The interplanetary Internet even has potential terrestrial applications that could benefit life here on Earth. Read more about them — and Burleigh — in Rose Magazine, below.

At top, an artist’s concept of interplanetary internet, courtesy of NASA/JPL. Portrait by Walt Mancini/Staff.