The Fastest Internet in the Galaxy

September 30, 2014

Blog | Culture | The Fastest Internet in the Galaxy
The Fastest Internet in the Galaxy

A few weeks ago, Stephanie Trevenen chatted with Jason Snyder of Momentum Worldwide about energy poverty and the opportunity to use the Internet to bring about higher standards of living in developing countries.  Seeking to bridge the digital divide, Synder is exploring a number of ventures – including wi-fi solar channels and ad-hoc networks – aimed at connecting more people and improving access. And, he’s not alone.


NASA, in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has made yet another leap for mankind. This time, however, they’ve sent the Internet to the moon. After three years in development, and with help from the LADEE spacecraft, scientists were able to establish a wireless connection on the moon for 30 days. With blazing download speeds of 622 mbps and upload speeds nearing 20 mbps, this ain’t your neighborhood broadband connection. In fact, those numbers outshine average speeds in more than 11 states.

Conventionally, data is transmitted from space via radio waves and colossal satellite dishes that span hundreds of meters in diameter.  As probes move further away, more power and larger receiving dishes are needed, so our most-distant spacecraft, Voyager 1, can communicate with folks on the ground.

Though the new method requires extreme precision and workarounds when the moon is on the horizon, with laser technology, NASA can receive 3D videos from deep space at remarkable speeds. The agency hopes that by expanding on this technology, interplanetary internet will not only fuel richer scientific studies, but also lead to more practical applications on terra firma – from improving tactical military communications to farming in remote areas.

The project is the foundation for the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration, which is scheduled to launch in 2017. Until then, you’ll have to hash it out with your favorite customer service reps.

 

Heather Waters

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