The initial Inter Planetary Networking technologies have been developed by Vint Cerf and others.  In Interplanetary networking the time delay (latency) and the lack of continuous network connectivity (as for example, waiting for the next satellite to come into the communication range) are problems that needed to be solved.  Hence the Interplanetary Network has to be Delay Tolerant and Disruption tolerant, whereas on the Internet, by the present protocols, the packets would be dropped when there is a line disruption or any abnormal delay.

Interplanetary Networks concept diagram by IPNSIG
Interplanetary Networking or Delay and Disruption Tolerant Networks

The experimental protocols have been developed by members of the Delay & Disruption Tolerant Networking Research Group (which operates under the aegis of the Internet Research Task Force).

The Internet Society has shared an update from NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate’s (HEOMD) on its Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) program.

While much of the focus is on a human mission to Mars, there are also signs of NASA’s increased commitment to Delay & Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN).

Current Activities:

  • Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN): Infusion of store and forward communications protocols into NASA and international missions.

Recent Accomplishments:

  • Demonstrated supervisory control of ESA Eurobot from the International Space Station (ISS using) DTN.
  • Agreement with KARI (the South Korean Space Agency) to conduct DTN experiments.

With an increased dependency upon robotic missions to pave the way for a human mission to Mars, and increasing realization that the data is the mission, these are encouraging signs that DTN is gathering momentum as a critical component of guaranteeing mission success.

The full update is available for download at:  https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/3-Status_of_AES.pdf  See slide 17

For a better understanding of the basics of DTN watch this video:

 

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