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NASA Wants New Space Net To Sustain Big Data Dumps; Moon and Mars Trips

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the world-of-mooncraft dept.

NASA 63

coondoggie writes "What kind of network can support future commercial and government space trips around Earth and support bigger distances to the moon and Mars? NASA is in the process of exploring exactly what technology will be needed beyond 2022 in particular to support future space communication and navigation. The agency recently issued a Request for Information (RFI) to begin planning for such a new architecture."

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Evidence found of extraterrestrial life (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43145165)

Re:Evidence found of extraterrestrial life (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43145247)

I found evidence in your mom's ass last nite

LOL

Re:Evidence found of extraterrestrial life (1)

ThePeices (635180) | about a year and a half ago | (#43145337)

*possible*, unconfirmed, still-to-be-validated evidence, more like it.

From TFA: "Either way, considerably more work will have to be done before the claims from this team can be broadly accepted."

First Psot! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43145183)

I just first psotted your mom's ass LOL

space trips around Earth?? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43145201)

That's pretty much all we can manage. All we need is '60s technology for that, jeez.

Was just thinking this (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43145209)

There was a proposal recently for another Mars rover for 2020 and I was like, how? We don't have the bandwidth to transmit data appropriate for entering the 3rd decade of the 21st century there... Curiosity is completely gimped due to only being able to send (even by 2013 standards) small amounts of data at certain times etc. etc.

By that time I'm really expecting, you know, some HD footage at 60fps of the landing and surface operations. At least make that your target and stretch yourself a little.

Re:Was just thinking this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43145647)

Not being able to send huge ammounts of relatively unimportant data doesn't really bother me.

Sure, it would be nice to send HD footage, but it would be a huge waste as well. There are some very real and big limits they have to work with, considering all that, I think they have a pretty nice rover up there.

Re:Was just thinking this (1)

kangsterizer (1698322) | about a year and a half ago | (#43145677)

Time to overcome laws of physics?

Re:Was just thinking this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43145795)

Yeah, and that's just our cosmic backyard, not even; it's the porch. And some people think we'll colonize the universe... Sigh.... I wonder if in a thousand years ethnographers will study this bizarre fixation.

Re:Was just thinking this (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#43146303)

There was a proposal recently for another Mars rover for 2020 and I was like, how? We don't have the bandwidth to transmit data appropriate for entering the 3rd decade of the 21st century there... Curiosity is completely gimped due to only being able to send (even by 2013 standards) small amounts of data at certain times etc. etc.

By that time I'm really expecting, you know, some HD footage at 60fps of the landing and surface operations. At least make that your target and stretch yourself a little.

What is scientifically appropriate bandwidth for 2013? What would the Mars Rover designers have been willing to give up to get better bandwidth? More bandwidth comes (generally) at the expense of weight, greater space requirements, and power demands. All of which are a very constrained on a space probe. Or maybe you think they should have delayed Curiosity's launch another 5 years so a newer orbital relay platform could be launched that has more bandwidth?

The Curiosity Rover can send around 250 mbit [dpreview.com] of data to earth daily. Netflix sends around 3GB/hour when streaming HD content, so if you want them to be able to stream an hour of HD video in a day, what you're asking for is over 100 times more bandwidth than they have now -- two orders of mangnitude more bandwidth.

NASA can have all of the bandwidth to Mars that it's willing to pay for, just like you could have a 10 gigabit home internet connection if you were willing to pay for it. But is it worth the added expense? How much more science could they do with more bandwidth considering the tradeoffs they'd have to make to get that bandwidth?

Re:Was just thinking this (1)

ledow (319597) | about a year and a half ago | (#43147285)

I think imaging is the LEAST important part of any space mission. Especially live imaging of moving images. Sure, a couple of science missions give us things like close-up of the moons of Jupiter, etc. but that's really science and doesn't need HD or 60fps (in fact, the visible spectrum is barely worth looking at compared to other wavelengths).

Pretty pictures don't give NASA money. They go into the gift-shop and a few online licensing rights and that's it. But a decent spectroscopy of something, beamed back at a handful of bits a second, is worth infinitely more for science. They're not making missions for you, they're making them for science and throw you a bone occasionally so you don't complain about what's happening with your tax dollars.

Now consider - there's a long delay in transmission times. Acknowledging a transmission is successful would actually take longer than the storage available on many of the older missions.

If something goes offline, and the intermediate satellites (e.g. those orbiting Mars, for example) have a problem talking home, then all that data is slowly building up. Data storage in a data-hostile environment like space is not cheap, so there's not much of it (and if there was, the more chance you'd experience a failure of some kind due to radiation, etc.).

So now your billion-dollar project on Mars is full of data, stops collecting, waits for the network to pick up so it can offload it to the satellite, that's full of data, waiting for the satellite network on Earth to talk back so it can clear its own buffers. Everything's just sitting there waiting and no science is happening and - most importantly - science data is being lost because you can't store it once you've collected it. Experiments have to be abandoned, re-run, vital timings are missed, etc.

Nothing happens "live" in space. The distances involved are too stupendous to worry about beaming things home live. The commands sent are batched, received and checked and sometimes retransmitted before ANYTHING is told to happen. That's why it takes days for the Mars Rovers to do anything like move forward a metre and drill a hole - you have to transmit a plan that covers every possible action because you CAN'T act live and the rover has to decide what to do if it feels a wheel slip mid-way etc.

What you get back are videos and photo-series uploaded over the course of weeks or months in-between the proper science data when there's some idle time. What's needed is a better DESIGN of network with more resiliency and better capacity (hard to do - you can't just whack a bigger hard drive in) and alternate routes and the capability to cope with solar flares and whatever else might happen.

Keep your damn HD at 60fps. It adds NOTHING except to make you feel good. Make it so that we can collect and use more science data to actually do things with. A planetary geologist isn't making their water/soil sample analysis on an HD video, they're using sensors and data collected more accurately, more in-depth and given to data archives that you will never even see. When they tell you there's water/life/politicians on Mars, they aren't looking at the imagery you see on the JPL website, they're looking at the real data that contributed to that (mostly manually re-coloured) imagery, that tells them what's actually there (and not just recolouring a grey pixel to blue because that's what they *think* it would look like if you were there).

Sustain big dumps? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43145217)

I thought this was going to be related to the toilet problems they've been having.

Re:Sustain big dumps? (1)

ikaruga (2725453) | about a year and a half ago | (#43145463)

If you want to take a refreshing big dump you NEED fast internet. Or are you implying you don't use your smartphone to browse facebook while in the pooper?

Big Data Dump (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43145219)

I big dumped your moms ass last nite

Agreement (1)

EzInKy (115248) | about a year and a half ago | (#43145233)

As long as the bodies in question agree, in this case the moon and Mars, to the release of their private data, I see no controversy here.

Pigeons (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43145243)

Just put little space suits on pigeons and get them to carry blu-rays.

Re:Pigeons (1)

ThePeices (635180) | about a year and a half ago | (#43145339)

Why birds?

You *do* realize that there is no air in space?

Do you?

Re:Pigeons (2)

jaxxa (1580613) | about a year and a half ago | (#43145405)

Thats why they have the little space suits.

Re:Pigeons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43145439)

So they can breath, but they won't be able to move.

Re:Pigeons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43145477)

*sigh* Then give them little rocketpacks. Do I have to think of everything?

Re:Pigeons (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#43146311)

*sigh* Then give them little rocketpacks. Do I have to think of everything?

The vacuum of space is a help, not a hindrance. Just give them a push of the correct velocity from mars and they'll coast effortlessly to Earth.

Make sure you give them enough birdseed to survive the trip.

Re:Pigeons (1)

arkane1234 (457605) | about a year and a half ago | (#43147995)

Don't believe that crap Obama feeds you!
Those democrats want that air for themselves!

They need Bandwidth (1)

Molochi (555357) | about a year and a half ago | (#43146067)

I recommend stationwagons (estate cars) loaded with tapes... never underestimate them.

That sound you hear... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43145253)

Is a huge pile of your tax dollars burning up on re-entry.

Ron Paul 2016.

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Big plans (3, Insightful)

Dyolf Knip (165446) | about a year and a half ago | (#43145397)

NASA sure does dream big, considering they can barely even get to LEO these days. Their launch capacity has been diminishing steadily for the past 40 years. Thank goodness it's not entirely up to them anymore.

Re:Big plans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43145451)

NASA sure does dream big, considering they can barely even get to LEO these days. Their launch capacity has been diminishing steadily for the past 40 years. Thank goodness it's not entirely up to them anymore.

Not trolling, but who would you fault for "barely even get to LEO these days"

Re:Big plans (1)

SpaceManNH (688561) | about a year and a half ago | (#43145461)

Could you even lay the blame on NASA?

Re:Big plans (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#43145675)

Well, I wouldn't solely blame NASA, but they are the ones with the responsibility to do such things and they're getting quite a bit of money for their efforts.

Re:Big plans (4, Insightful)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year and a half ago | (#43145697)

to be fair, NASA gets all the cuts by congress first. On top of that, everytime they have a multi year-decade plan, the *insert sitting president here* decides that the *insert previous president here*'s plan is no good, and makes NASA start over or shift to a new project. It really is no wonder why NASA is not what it could be, just follow the money

Re:Big plans (1)

SpaceManNH (688561) | about a year and a half ago | (#43146287)

Well said +5 insightful if i had the mod points to give

Re:Big plans (1)

Myopic (18616) | about a year and a half ago | (#43149337)

That's exactly right and it's NASA's fault. They as an organization should refuse to accept such bullshit coming from Congress. They should strike until they are either adequately funded (approximately double what they get today) or shut down.

"Oh, what did you say Congress? You want us to keep showing up collecting our paychecks but not actually doing anything, year after year, decade after decade? No. Fuck you. We'll find other jobs if you want us to but we're not going to let you waste taxpayer money on programs that never go anywhere. No. Pay up or close us down. Your move. You have four weeks of us on strike, after that we're outie getting new jobs. Maybe the Chinese would be interested in our know-how."

Re:Big plans (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year and a half ago | (#43155803)

A lot of them are, who do you think is working for the private start ups? ex NASA

Re:Big plans (1)

Myopic (18616) | about a year and a half ago | (#43149299)

I blame NASA. In my opinion in the mid 1990s the director of NASA should have gone to Congress, then to television shows, saying "Look, either fund us well enough to continue manned space flight, or shut us down. We're not going to do this bullshit half-assed only-send-robots free-market-partnership nonsense. Pay for humans on foreign worlds, or shutter it." Maybe they would have been shuttered, in which case fine, America wouldn't have lost anything and we would have saved a small amount of money. Otherwise we would have a neato space program again. Either way would be okay, but this middle ground of stupid one-rover-after-another thing is not worth the cost.

Humans on other worlds or nothing. My vote is for humans on other worlds, but I'll accept nothing.

Re:Big plans (1)

ModernGeek (601932) | about a year and a half ago | (#43146027)

I know that it's an unpopular sentiment to say anything pro-nasa/pro-us about the space race, but the United States is the only country developing a super heavy lift vehicle (SLS). Many label it as a jobs program, but that is simply not the case.

Re:Big plans (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year and a half ago | (#43146333)

the United States is the only country developing a super heavy lift vehicle (SLS).

ever been out to the suburbs and seen the average soccer mom haul her and her kids around?

the US knows 'heavy'. that's one thing we know well.

Re:Big plans (2)

KeensMustard (655606) | about a year and a half ago | (#43146545)

Nasa can, and does, get regularly beyond LEO. Off the top of my head:

1. Spirit and Opportunity rovers - huge success

2. Cassini-Huygens: Despite some issues, still managed to collect an enormous amount of data on probably the most (or perhaps second most) interesting place in the solar system - including a landing on Titan. Arguably the high point of space exploration so far.

3. Curiousity Rover - again, hugely successful

4. MESSENGER probe - has has it's mission extended, having achieved every mission objective

5. And of course New Horizons [nasa.gov] my current favourite

Their launch capacity has been diminishing steadily for the past 40 years.

Appearances can be deceptive. It's certainly true that by distance Voyager I/II (I assume this is what you are alluding to) has travelled a greater distance than any other mission - but in a sense that is a matter of coasting along and observing what the data tells you. Not to take anything away from Voyager, let me emphasise, it was, and is, an astounding achievement.

Thank goodness it's not entirely up to them anymore.

I'm not sure there was ever a time when it was entirely up to them but it seems to me that NASA are the ones doing the interesting stuff at the moment. Sending apes/humans into LEO? Kinda been done before. Sending humans into orbit around Mars? Ummm.. Why? That planet, apart from being generally boring (excluding the possibility of some sort of life there) has already been thoroughly mapped from space by the Mars Orbiter. And we learnt years ago that humans aren't required on locale to make missions work. Hardly groundbreaking stuff.

Re:Big plans (1)

Myopic (18616) | about a year and a half ago | (#43149379)

Humans on other worlds is the standard by which NASA is and should be judged; otherwise it doesn't count. Rovers are sort of neat but they don't count. Telescopes are worthwhile but we don't need a whole NASA agency for that, and in they end they still don't count. Voyager-type spacecraft are worthwhile but again we don't need a whole NASA to simply sling a robot into space.

Humans on other worlds. Pay for it, or save the money.

Eh? (0)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year and a half ago | (#43145483)

Reading that summary, it sounds like NASA thinks the distance to the moon and Mars is increasing enough to care about. Also that commercial development of Mars is something they should be concerned about in some nearby decade. Neither of those things is true.

But here's the architecture:

BIG fucking dish on Earth

pointed at BIG fucking dish at LEO

connected to BIG fucking dish pointed at Mars

BIG fucking dish orbiting Mars.

Re:Eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43145527)

Shutup and take my money!

Bad architecture.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43145577)

why have a big dish in LEO.. atmospheric attenuation is small (1dB ish) and everything is harder in LEO: power, maintenance, etc.

Yes, big dish orbiting Mars (doesn't have to be that big.. easier to make the dish(s) bigger on earth than fly it to Mars. 3-4 meters at mars. And a big dish at L2 in a halo orbit that can always see the Earth around the Moon's limb. Or, a bunch of lunar orbiters (with a fair amount of fuel.. it's hard to keep things in a stable orbit at the Moon because the Earth keeps pulling them off path)

But what about farther out.. say at Jupiter/Europa or Saturn/Titan

But there's a lot of other issues.. do you need symmetric links? Historically, the uplink (earth to space) has been much slower than the downlink (space to earth) because all you send is commands which are small, but you get copious science data back. But is that still an appropriate model, particularly with relay spacecraft. What about sending software uploads? Or media files for astronaut entertainment?

How do you arrange QoS... live video from astronauts might be more important than science data scheduling wise
How much storage should you have and where should it be?

How do you integrate navigation with this (spacecraft are navigated by precise measurements of the Doppler shift and round trip time delay of the radio signals carrying the data)? DO you have a separate system for nav and data. When you send data at 10 bps, frequency control and measurement to fractions of a Hz was free. But do you really want to control the frequency of your 32 GHz carrier with 1Gbps modulation to that level?

How do you transfer time from earth to a lander on the back side of the moon or mars?

Re:Bad architecture.. (2)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year and a half ago | (#43156151)

why have a big dish in LEO..

I meant write GEO, not LEO. The reason is for exactly what you can't get in LEO: a more continuous link to Mars from your ground station. Yes, the earth station uplink antenna and the Earth-orbiting ground-link antenna don't really need to be very big, because the bandwidth is going to be limited by the interplanetary link speed anyway.

atmospheric attenuation is small (1dB ish) and everything is harder in LEO: power, maintenance, etc.

Yes, big dish orbiting Mars (doesn't have to be that big.. easier to make the dish(s) bigger on earth than fly it to Mars. 3-4 meters at mars. And a big dish at L2 in a halo orbit that can always see the Earth around the Moon's limb. Or, a bunch of lunar orbiters (with a fair amount of fuel.. it's hard to keep things in a stable orbit at the Moon because the Earth keeps pulling them off path)

The antenna at Mars pointed at Earth needs to be as big as you can practically make it because received power (therefore bitrate) at Earth is proportional to the product of the dish areas times the transmitter power.

How much storage should you have and where should it be?

How do you integrate navigation with this (spacecraft are navigated by precise measurements of the Doppler shift and round trip time delay of the radio signals carrying the data)? DO you have a separate system for nav and data. When you send data at 10 bps, frequency control and measurement to fractions of a Hz was free. But do you really want to control the frequency of your 32 GHz carrier with 1Gbps modulation to that level?

How do you transfer time from earth to a lander on the back side of the moon or mars?

Why would you put a 1Gbps link on 32 GHz? I can't think of a good reason to go that high. If you need precise Dopplers, put a slowly-modulated pilot carrier on the link. If you want to get precise time to and from the spacecraft, use two-way time transfer. If you need it on the ground on the back side of the moon, you're going to need orbiters to relay the signals around. On Mars, that's one option, or clocks with more than 12 hour holdover that re-synch when they come back to positions where Earth is visible.

Also, 1Gbps is pretty out there for interplanetary comms. You would need 100 meter dishes on both ends and a 100kW transmitter.

Try 100kbps. You can do that with a 10m dish, a 100m dish at Earth and 3kW of transmitter power. (Assuming a typical range of 200 million kilometers. You can turn up the speed when we're closer and would have to turn it down when we're farther away.) Of course, transmitter power from Earth may be not so much of a problem. All the better for the astronauts to get their MTV.

No Money ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43145499)

No money .... no Buck Rogers !

A very needed and necessary pice of infrastructure to do what is proposed to be done, yet the USA (DoD) will NOT pay for it.

I suspect that a 'serious' effort to accomplish a 'manned' landing and return regard Mars will be at least 2000 years in the future,
should Homo Sapiens exist that long, doubtful.

Re:No Money ! (2)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about a year and a half ago | (#43147851)

You ruined that one - the quote is "No bucks, no Buck Rogers!"

space data network (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43145531)

Didn't Vint Cerf already do some work in this area with DTN?

Universe-wide network? Is IPv6 sufficient? (1)

porky_pig_jr (129948) | about a year and a half ago | (#43145533)

Clearly not, if the Universe is infinite. So seems like there is no point to migrating to IPv6. Time to start working on IPv8 or whatever.

due to lag can we have it on it's own nat / networ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43145649)

due to lag can we have it on it's own nat / network?

Re:Universe-wide network? Is IPv6 sufficient? (1)

Bomazi (1875554) | about a year and a half ago | (#43145689)

There are about 10^80 atoms in the observable universe, so we should be quite safe with 128 bits addresses.

Re:Universe-wide network? Is IPv6 sufficient? (4, Funny)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year and a half ago | (#43146347)

and if an atom needs more addresses, it can always run NAT.

Re:Universe-wide network? Is IPv6 sufficient? (1)

overlordofmu (1422163) | about a year and a half ago | (#43146619)

That comment was so funny I am now in love with you.

Luckily, my wife doesn't get jealous easily.

Re:Universe-wide network? Is IPv6 sufficient? (1)

Zorpheus (857617) | about a year and a half ago | (#43148077)

10^80 / 2^128 = 2.94 * 10^41
I think we should go for 256 bit adresses:
10^80 / 2^256 = 863.6

Re:Universe-wide network? Is IPv6 sufficient? (1)

ImprovOmega (744717) | about a year and a half ago | (#43148137)

Actually 128 bits isn't even enough to address every atom in the earth (you'd need about 166-167 bits for that). 256 bits wouldn't be enough for every atom in the universe (it would take 265-266 bits for that), but if we can reasonably assume that anything worth addressing contains at least 1000 atoms then a 256 bit standard should be sufficient for any conceivable address space.

Re:Universe-wide network? Is IPv6 sufficient? (1)

Myopic (18616) | about a year and a half ago | (#43149429)

We can always move to IPv7 fifty million years from now.

How many addresses do we get? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43146425)

According to Wikipedia, one measure of the observable universe's mass is 3e79 hydrogen atoms. Multiply to get weight (3e79 * 1.67e-24) and divide by IPv6 address space gets us how many kilograms per address space. It's 147,230,667,440,491,510 kg per IP (ignoring subnetworks, broadcasts, etc). That is one heavy address!

So how many addresses does out solar system get?

There are 333346 Earth masses between just the planets and the Sun. The Earth weighs 5.9728e24 kg so our entire solar system weights in at 1.9910089888e109 kg. Our solar system would get 1.3523e92 addresses. Give or take. The Earth all by it's lonesome will get 4e86 addresses to play with. So many addresses that each one of us would have 5.7143e76 addresses.

If you started writing down just the addresses that belong to you it would take 70% of the time to the heat death of the universe, then you would have to start all over to assign the network mask and gateway of each one.

Units? (1)

stoploss (2842505) | about a year and a half ago | (#43150797)

Are you certain you didn't lose track of the units?

I calculate five IPs per person [google.com] , even if we force all the poor 1.5E14 kg chunks of mass of the earth behind NAT so we can steal their routable addresses for human use.

...and what of the poor nanobot swarm [xkcd.com] ?

Data Format (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43145559)

I hope it's based on XML.

*Just kidding Folks!*

Bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43145579)

Right now I think what they need most is deep space transmitters. They currently use ground based radio telescopes for the Deep Space Network but they really ought to be looking for a space-based solution.

Re:Bandwidth (1)

ceview (2857765) | about a year and a half ago | (#43146075)

Agreed. I think not only deep space transmitters. They should have entire server farms but buried inside some well placed asteroid(s).

A link in TFA that I like... (2)

Molochi (555357) | about a year and a half ago | (#43146137)

http://prod.nais.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/eps/bizops.cgi?gr=D&pin=51#154104 [nasa.gov]

This is NASA's business oportunities page. Very cool...

Re:A link in TFA that I like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43147625)

And although that site has an IPv6 address in the DNS (yay!) it times out on connection (boo!). No wonder NASA needs help with its networking :-)

Net? (1)

Porchroof (726270) | about a year and a half ago | (#43147253)

"NASA Wants New Space Net To Sustain Big Data Dumps; Moon and Mars Trips"

I thought this thread was about a huge net in space, but turns out to be about a network.

Note to headline writer: there is a difference between the meanings of "net" and "network".

Re:Net? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43151133)

Well, where do you think the term network comes from?

Re:Net? (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about a year and a half ago | (#43168973)

Yeah, I thought they were going to try clear up all the space junk.

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