Will the First Humans to Step Foot on Mars have Internet Access?
Well, in theory, it’s possibleby Robert Moore, on
Musk threw out some pretty hair-raising news at the 2017 IAC conference this year, including his plans to use the BFR (Big Fucking Rocket) to transport humans almost anywhere on earth in less than a half hour, ideas about colonizing the moon and using it as a jump-off point, and even how he would manage to gain financing to build the BFR and interplanetary transport system he’s idolized for years now. Of course, the BFR and ITS are just pipe dreams at the moment, but Musk seems to be on top of trying to make them happen. And, what’s more important is that he confirmed that Mars is still on the docket for the future, and the journey may be taking place a lot sooner than we think. Shortly after IAC 2017, Musk took part in an “ask-me-anything” (AMA) forum on Reddit, and it didn’t take long for questions to start coming in. Among questions about the BFR and SpaceX in general, was what seemed to be the most important question of all:
“Does SpaceX have any interesting in putting more satellites in orbit around Mar’s (or even rockets) for internet/communications before we get feet on the ground?”
Of course, this question is important for two different reasons. First off, it would be nice to be able to communicate with our interplanetary travelers once they arrive on our red neighbor. But, of course, we know humans can’t live without the internet for days, and we have to be able to post selfies during the sunrise and sunset on Mars, right? Okay, all jokes aside, it’s actually quite a good idea, and Musk seemed to tease us about it a bit: “If anyone wants to build a high bandwidth comm link to Mars, please do.”
Keep reading for the rest of the story
Reddit Users can be Smart Cookies
So, naturally, Musk didn’t put out any positive response as to whether or not he had even considered facilitating a Mars-to-Earth connection for communication or otherwise, but that didn’t stop one Reddit user from throwing out a fairly feasible idea:
“The concept of an internet connection on Mars is kinda awesome. You could theoretically make an internet protocol that would mirror a subset of the internet near Mars. A user would need to queue up the parts of the internet they wanted available, and the servers would sync the relevant data. There could be a standard format for pages to be Mars renderable since server-side communication is impractical.”
Musk, replied with a single word: “ Nerd” but elaborate further, saying:
“But, yes, it would make sense to strip the headers out and do a UDP-style feed with extreme compression and a CRC check to confirm the packet is good, then do a batch resend of the CRC-failed packets. Something like that. Earth to Mars is over 22 light-minutes at max distance. 3 light-minutes at closest distance. So you could Snapchat, I suppose. If that’s a thing in the future.”
Making Life Multiplanetary
So, while this does seem like a somewhat playful or childish response, it’s really kind of a hint that the internet of things really could end up on the red planet. For now, the word is that the first humans will embark on their journey in 2024, while a cargo ITS – which will be developed first – will make the trip a bit sooner, in 2022, to supply the necessary supplies needed by our very first arrivals.
SpaceX Interplanetary Transport System
Who knows, maybe that first cargo ship will deploy long-range communication satellites and the necessary orbital infrastructure to make Mars-to-Earth communication, and consequently, and internet connection available for the first humans to land the Mars. For now, we’ll just have to bide our time and see what happens, but the question remains: Will they have internet when they get there and is it really something that should be prioritized for such an important and species-changing mission? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
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