Bringing the Internet to Mars and Beyond

With the exploration of space and the eventual colonization of Mars humanity needs to establish a method for improving internet connectivity for people on the surface.

One method of achieving this is to place one or more satellites in high orbit around the planet.  These would use interplanetary internet(delay tolerant) technology and protocols to service requests as well as actively mirror content for primary sites located on Earth.  The goal of this strategy is to reduce the latency of user requests from 8-48 minutes down to at most a few seconds for popular content.

What is needed for a single node:

  • High bandwidth communications equipment similar to what would have been on the Mars Telecommunications Orbiter.
  • A cluster of servers in an a spacecraft the the size of a supply module.  Something similar to Microsoft’s Project Natick would be about right for a first generation.  There would be a redundant capacity built in to cover eventual server failure.
  • A heat management system.
  • A nuclear power generation system.

Now we just need NASA, Microsoft, SpaceX, Amazon (w/Blue Origin) AWS – Mars, or Google to make it happen!

Posted by Chad Dotson in Doing Things Better, Neat Stuff, Space, Technology, 0 comments
The Final Apollo Mission – December 7, 1972

The Final Apollo Mission – December 7, 1972

Apollo 17 Liftoff - December 7, 1942

Apollo 17 Liftoff – December 7, 1942

On December 7, 1972 (41 years ago today) the final manned mission to the moon blasted off from Kennedy Space Center.  Eugene Cernan was the last person to walk on the moon on December 14, 1972 at roughly 05:40 GMT. It is ultimately hard to believe that its been 41 years and we’ve not had a manned mission to Mars yet.  Even more astounding is the fact is that at this time we are between the Space Shuttle and its replacement, so we have no currently operational mode of launching humans into space.  The Orion capsule is currently under development and approaching ETF-1 (Exploration Flight Test-1), but that is scheduled for late 2014.

I got interested in the total time spent on the surface (just EVA’s for the Apollo missions) of of the Moon, you can find the figures on the table below.  You can tell by the figures when the Apollo missions started using the lunar rover.  I’ve also included drive distance of NASA’s Mars rovers.

Mission Surface EVA Surface Distance Covered
Apollo 11 2:31:40 Negligible
Apollo 12 7:45:18 2.0 km (1.2 mi)
Apollo 14 9:22:31 3.3 km (2.1 mi)
Apollo 15 19:07:53 27.9 km (17.3 mi)
Apollo 16 20:14:14 26.7 km (16.6 mi)
Apollo 17 22:03:57 35.74 km (22.21 mi)
Sojourner 100 m (330 ft)
Spirit 7.73 km (4.8 mi)
Opportunity 38.70 km (24.05 mi) – Ongoing
Curiosity 1 km (0.6 mi)+ – Ongoing

I leave you with this entry in the Sagan Series titled the “Gift of Apollo.”





Posted by Chad Dotson in Misc, Ramblings, Technology, 0 comments

Red Bull Stratos

Watch the world record freefall from the edge of space live right now.  (video embedded)


More information:


Posted by Chad Dotson in Neat Stuff, Space, Technology, 0 comments

ISS Flyover August 28, 2012

These pictures were taken during a flyover of the International Space Station on August 28, 2012.  The one lesson learned from this set is that next time I want to take a series and stack them together for a picture that has the space station crossing the whole sky.

Posted by Chad Dotson in Photography, Space, 0 comments
2012 Venus Transit – June 5, 2012

2012 Venus Transit – June 5, 2012

These pictures were taken from the Tullahoma, Tennessee airport June 5, 2012.  I had a 200mm lens with a no. 14 welder’s glass in front of it to capture Venus and the sunspots.

[nggallery id=60]


Posted by Chad Dotson in Photography, 0 comments

The Last Shuttle Launch and The Future

Atlantis on the pad 39A

Atlantis on the pad 39A for its final flight.

End of an Era
Yesterday (July 8, 2011), we witnessed what will likely be the last launch of the Space Shuttle.  Of the three operational shuttles NASA had remaining, Atlantis was the second oldest.  Atlantis’s first flight took place in October 1985.

This final flight of Atlantis signals the end of an era in more ways than one.  The shuttle program is a spectacle.  While I’ve never seen one launch in person, I’m sure the TV does not do it justice.

NASA and The Future:
Its my belief that budget cuts will win out and eventually we will be mostly out of the Human space exploration business.  With Orion and Constellation cancelled, the next vehicle planned is the MPCV (Multi-purpose Crew Vehicle).  The advantage of the MPCV over Orion is its 21-day mission capability.  I’m not sure who labeled this as “Deep Space” but someone did.  I guess NASA is taking the approach of component space travel.  The MPCV would be a component of a larger spacecraft for say an asteriod or Mars trip.  My major complaint is the common one,  it seems as if we are taking a step backwards in our designs of exploration vehicles.

Stagnated Exploration
Think about it, it took us under a decade to reach the moon.  After just a few visits, we never went back, our deeper exploration stagnated.  Humans have the desire to go some place for themselves, not just sending robots.  Seeing a human walking on another planet generates more interest than robots.  Humans also are vastly more capable than a robot.  Humans are able to adapt to changing situations and circumstances that a robot may not be able to.  Also Humans can think and change analytical approaches if the need arises.

The Political Speil
It is also my belief that a good “Economic Stimulus” would be to reengage the public in the allure of space travel.  Wouldn’t the Math, Science, and Engineering jobs created and maintained by the funding of the US human exploration of space be better than some of the other less technical jobs “created.”  Funding to “create jobs” comes from somewhere, one of those places is pulling budget dollars from agencies such as NASA.  Also, studies show that we are falling behind in Math and Science…  How can we hope to improve when one of the biggest math and science sources is underfunded.


Posted by Chad Dotson in Misc, Technology, 0 comments