Work on the Moon with 19Mbps Wi-FI by laser

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It might be hard to imagine working on the Moon, but there’s already work well underway to make this a reality in the future. With any modern office you’ll need to get some sort of networking setup, which would be possible in the future thanks to an advancement by scientists.

Today, we hear that a Wi-Fi signal was established with a satellite circling the Moon and the impressive fact is the data speed. Scientists managed to get a 19Mbps download speed with this Wi-Fi signal by using a powerful laser beam.

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Considering the average home broadband connection apparently gets 14.7Mbps, this means the data connection to the moon would be faster coming from the ground on Earth to a satellite at the Moon, although it’s not clear if that would include the final speed once you were on the Moon.

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There’s no doubt that a future generation could work on the Moon with a broadband speed faster than today’s average, especially considering the achievement made by scientists already using a laser.

Would you like to work on the Moon if the opportunity arrived? The above mentioned project used telescopes in New Mexico that directed a laser beam to the Earth orbiting satellite, which then sent the data to the Moon orbiting satellite. The process used a photodetector to turn light into electrical pulses and then finally these were converted to data.

Personally, we think people will be working on the Moon a lot sooner than some of you might think. The 19Mbps Wi-FI Moon connection was made over 239,000 miles.

Thanks to the BBC.

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  • StarkRG

    Problem is, of course, you wouldn’t be able to connect to the Internet as we know it. TCP relies too heavily on error checking and, with what has to be somewhere on the order of 2000ms ping time, each individual packet would take several seconds meaning even downloading a 100k fine will take a significant fraction of an hour. You could, in theory, make each packet gigantic which would mitigate the huge ping time, but I’m not sure how TCP would handle that. UDP wouldn’t be a problem, but that just ignores all errors, fine for streaming media, bad for transferring data reliably.
    I do, however, envision a new protocol which could compensate for the huge delay. Packet errors are extremely common, the only reason we don’t notice is that TCP double checks each and every packet to make site it got the right information before the next one is sent. This is why ping time is so important, and also why packets are usually so tiny, it’s easier to check for errors in something small than something large, also easier to resend something small if an error occurs. This would mean that this new protocol would have to incorporate on-the-fly error detection (perhaps by parity bits inserted into the stream at set intervals), then it’d have to keep track of which portions of the stream errored and request them again, while simultaneously continuing to receive the data that has already been sent. It’d be a bit messy and it would require using the single channel for an extended period of time for each download. Perhaps, though, you could just have a regular TCP network on the moon (Lunarnet?), with a bridge to the terrestrial Internet over this new protocol. If someone requested something from Earth it’d be condensed with all the other Internet requests, when the result is returned (after a minute or so for regular internet traffic, possibly tens of minutes to an hour or more for large requests) the bridge would convert the data back into TCP and relay it back to the user.

    It’d be expensive though, at least at first. Once there were enough people and/or machines to warrant several dedicated connections (complete with dedicated satellites), the prices would drop significantly. Perhaps Google’s April fool’s joke of 2001, the lunar datacenter isn’t that far-fetched (though I imagine it’d be primarily used for continuous data backup, rather than the day-to-day operations most datacenters are used for. Though, again, once there were enough people and businesses up there to warrant it the datacenter would be used for day-to-day (month-to-month?) LUNAR operations.

    Of course, because days on the moon last about 14 Earth days and are extremely hot they’d have to figure out some kind of huge cooling system (pumping cooking liquid deep underground or to craters at the poles where the sun never shines (and, thus, is always cold)? Gigantic radiators? Some combination thereof?