Author Topic: Internet Access for the New Mars Colony  (Read 14380 times)

Offline aero

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3025
  • 92129
  • Liked: 816
  • Likes Given: 288
Internet Access for the New Mars Colony
« on: 06/03/2014 07:19 pm »
Once the first 100 (1,000, 10,000, more?) people settle on Mars, they will be nearly cut off from the Information Age. That will be a real downer. Of course they will have local, Mars, communication but no chatting with Earth. Text email only? Mars Google to Earth won't work very well and participating in NSF discussions will be very awkward.

What can be done to improve the situation?

Bring data on media to Mars for installation on the local Mars-net will work for archive data but how current can it be kept?

What will the Mars-net look like, how will it be kept current how will a Scientist do data searches? Will the colonists just forget about surfing the Earth Internet?

Other problems/solutions?
Retired, working interesting problems

Offline DMeader

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 956
  • Liked: 100
  • Likes Given: 47
Re: Internet Access for the New Mars Colony
« Reply #1 on: 06/03/2014 07:50 pm »
Unless someone comes up with a Star-Trek-style subspace radio (which worked either in real-time or was delayed depending on the needs of the story), communications with the home world are always going to be governed by that pesky speed-of-light thing.

Perhaps high-bandwidth links can be created and streaming might be the best way to move large amounts of data to the new place, and save it to the archives as it arrives. Otherwise, you'd have to simply take a copy of as much of everything that you could with you when you go. I've heard there is a gadget that contains all of Wikipedia. Perhaps that would be a start.

Offline Mader Levap

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 963
  • Liked: 431
  • Likes Given: 501
Re: Internet Access for the New Mars Colony
« Reply #2 on: 06/03/2014 07:52 pm »
I think Martian colony will have for long, long time more pressing concerns than lack of Internet.  ::)
Be successful.  Then tell the haters to (BLEEP) off. - deruch
...and if you have failure, tell it anyway.

Online Lar

  • Fan boy at large
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11376
  • Saw Gemini live on TV
  • A large LEGO storage facility ... in Michigan
  • Liked: 8426
  • Likes Given: 6774
Re: Internet Access for the New Mars Colony
« Reply #3 on: 06/03/2014 09:59 pm »
I think Martian colony will have for long, long time more pressing concerns than lack of Internet.  ::)
Not sure I agree. Some sort of connectivity will be necessary if only to send up the 3D printing instructions for the gadget that our heroes depended on in the last cliffhanger... I think it may well be low bitrate but we will need something. So I would expect that (as previous threads discussed) some of the cargo sent in the first few missions will be comms related.  MRO can't last forever, although it's functioning well so far.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline ChrisWilson68

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3855
  • Sunnyvale, CA
  • Liked: 2561
  • Likes Given: 3276
Re: Internet Access for the New Mars Colony
« Reply #4 on: 06/03/2014 10:20 pm »
It won't be hard to use laser links between satellites (of Mars, Earth, and the Sun) to get high data rates.  But the latency will be high.

We'll do what we do on Earth -- use caching.  We can have a data center on Mars or in the vicinity of Mars that caches the most popular web sites and caches a search index.  Probably Google will be willing to cache a portion of its search index there.  E-mail, of course, will work just fine.  With proper caching, news sites, Facebook, discussion fora, etc. could be made to work almost as well.  Real-time chats won't, of course, and neither will real-time games.

This will be very important psychologically for the Mars colonists.

Online guckyfan

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6875
  • Germany
  • Liked: 1864
  • Likes Given: 1910
Re: Internet Access for the New Mars Colony
« Reply #5 on: 06/04/2014 03:46 am »
It won't be hard to use laser links between satellites (of Mars, Earth, and the Sun) to get high data rates.  But the latency will be high.

We'll do what we do on Earth -- use caching.  We can have a data center on Mars or in the vicinity of Mars that caches the most popular web sites and caches a search index.  Probably Google will be willing to cache a portion of its search index there.  E-mail, of course, will work just fine.  With proper caching, news sites, Facebook, discussion fora, etc. could be made to work almost as well.  Real-time chats won't, of course, and neither will real-time games.

This will be very important psychologically for the Mars colonists.

Absolutely. I too believe, this is important, especially in the beginning to give the feeling of not being cut off.

Offline Eric Hedman

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1073
  • Liked: 391
  • Likes Given: 303
Re: Internet Access for the New Mars Colony
« Reply #6 on: 06/04/2014 03:55 am »
I would suspect that the most popular sites based upon searches by residents of mars would be updated to a local mirrored server with updates using bandwidth unused by higher priority communications with the rest of the solar system.  You would probably have two types of searches.  One would find info on the cached sites on the servers.  After the results are pulled up, the user would probably be prompted if they want to extend the search to earth or other locations with a significant lag for the results.

Offline mrmandias

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 506
  • US
  • Liked: 29
  • Likes Given: 34
Re: Internet Access for the New Mars Colony
« Reply #7 on: 06/04/2014 02:52 pm »
Lack of full-on instant web immersion is a feature, not a bug.

Offline Ludus

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1215
  • Liked: 622
  • Likes Given: 308
Re: Internet Access for the New Mars Colony
« Reply #8 on: 06/04/2014 03:03 pm »
I think Martian colony will have for long, long time more pressing concerns than lack of Internet.  ::)

I strongly disagree. I think it will be a top priority to have high bandwidth internet in place from day one. This is one of the areas old scifi gets wrong (because they missed it on earth too). Mars settlers will be in constant close communication. Even on earth texting and email asynchronous communication dominates.

Mars settlers will use Facebook, credit cards, twitter, the financial system. Mars exports will be dominated by digital information. Server farms on Mars will cache internet locally as occurs regionally on earth. The light speed latency issue will prevent IM and synchronous voice or video but that won't be as isolating as it seemed in scifi in an era without any experience of a vast range of asynchronous modes that are pretty fast, cheap and convenient.

Offline sheltonjr

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 148
  • Liked: 63
  • Likes Given: 37
Re: Internet Access for the New Mars Colony
« Reply #9 on: 06/04/2014 06:09 pm »
Solar conjunction between Earth and Mars with be a PITA.    ;)

Will need a relay satellite 90 degrees in front or behind Earth orbital path to maintain the connection.

Offline acsawdey

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 430
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 279
  • Likes Given: 545
Re: Internet Access for the New Mars Colony
« Reply #10 on: 06/04/2014 06:21 pm »
Clearly, somebody will have to build a https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_Equilateral relay station ...

Offline sghill

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1421
  • United States
  • Liked: 1615
  • Likes Given: 2373
Re: Internet Access for the New Mars Colony
« Reply #11 on: 06/04/2014 06:42 pm »
Books are nice.  They are generally fault tolerant, have long storage lifetimes during power outages, and they can keep the colony warm during times of distress or religious fervor.
Bring the thunder!

Online Lar

  • Fan boy at large
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11376
  • Saw Gemini live on TV
  • A large LEGO storage facility ... in Michigan
  • Liked: 8426
  • Likes Given: 6774
Re: Internet Access for the New Mars Colony
« Reply #12 on: 06/04/2014 07:18 pm »
I would suspect that the most popular sites based upon searches by residents of mars would be updated to a local mirrored server with updates using bandwidth unused by higher priority communications with the rest of the solar system.  You would probably have two types of searches.  One would find info on the cached sites on the servers.  After the results are pulled up, the user would probably be prompted if they want to extend the search to earth or other locations with a significant lag for the results.

This.

I expect that the second search would be an extra cost option since it would use valuable interplanetary bandwidth.  One of the markers of transition from outpost to colony is "who pays for that search"... if it's the end user (or his employer) that's a sign of transition to colony-ness :) ..
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline MajorBringdown

  • Member
  • Posts: 32
  • Liked: 4
  • Likes Given: 0

Offline QuantumG

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8789
  • Australia
  • Liked: 3788
  • Likes Given: 896
Re: Internet Access for the New Mars Colony
« Reply #14 on: 06/04/2014 10:18 pm »
"Why'd they up and go to Mars?"

"To get away from Facebook."
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Online high road

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 814
  • Europe
  • Liked: 231
  • Likes Given: 57
Re: Internet Access for the New Mars Colony
« Reply #15 on: 06/06/2014 06:53 am »
It won't be hard to use laser links between satellites (of Mars, Earth, and the Sun) to get high data rates.  But the latency will be high.

We'll do what we do on Earth -- use caching.  We can have a data center on Mars or in the vicinity of Mars that caches the most popular web sites and caches a search index.  Probably Google will be willing to cache a portion of its search index there.  E-mail, of course, will work just fine.  With proper caching, news sites, Facebook, discussion fora, etc. could be made to work almost as well.  Real-time chats won't, of course, and neither will real-time games.

This will be very important psychologically for the Mars colonists.

Absolutely. I too believe, this is important, especially in the beginning to give the feeling of not being cut off.

If you can't go without instant responses from friends and family back home, you're not the right stuff for a colonist. Only a few decades ago, there was no internet. That didn't stop people from emigrating to another continent. More accurately, it stopped millions from emigrating, but tens of thousands and eventually millions took the risk. In the early days, communications with people back on the old continent took months, and you were never sure the letters reached their destination. But a few hours lag in sending video and e-mail back and forth would be an insurmountable psychological barrier to colonists? Please... There are still locations on this planet that don't have access to internet. That doesn't stop people from living there.

Increasing bandwith is another matter. We are after all in the information age, and the Martian colony will have to send massive amounts of information back and forth in order to do whatever they're there to do.

Offline ChrisWilson68

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3855
  • Sunnyvale, CA
  • Liked: 2561
  • Likes Given: 3276
Re: Internet Access for the New Mars Colony
« Reply #16 on: 06/06/2014 07:13 am »
It won't be hard to use laser links between satellites (of Mars, Earth, and the Sun) to get high data rates.  But the latency will be high.

We'll do what we do on Earth -- use caching.  We can have a data center on Mars or in the vicinity of Mars that caches the most popular web sites and caches a search index.  Probably Google will be willing to cache a portion of its search index there.  E-mail, of course, will work just fine.  With proper caching, news sites, Facebook, discussion fora, etc. could be made to work almost as well.  Real-time chats won't, of course, and neither will real-time games.

This will be very important psychologically for the Mars colonists.

Absolutely. I too believe, this is important, especially in the beginning to give the feeling of not being cut off.

If you can't go without instant responses from friends and family back home, you're not the right stuff for a colonist.

Nobody is claiming that the colonists couldn't live without it, just that they would have a far better quality of life with it.

Only a few decades ago, there was no internet. That didn't stop people from emigrating to another continent.

In the times people were going to remote colonies in the past, people were also routinely dying young, enslaving each other, and doing many other things we've progressed beyond.  21st century colonists shouldn't have to live like 16th century colonists.

Also, on Earth virtually every emigrant was emigrating to a sizeable community.  An earlier Mars colony might be much smaller.

The colonists on Earth would still be able to go outside and play and run and feel grass in their feet.  Colonists on Mars will be going to a much more difficult-to-live-in situation.  Never being able to go outdoors without a huge protective suit will have a big negative psychological effect.  Not being able to ever see wild animals or plants, or feel wind or rain or snow will have big negative psychological effects.  An internet connection can help counter some of those negatives.

More accurately, it stopped millions from emigrating, but tens of thousands and eventually millions took the risk. In the early days, communications with people back on the old continent took months, and you were never sure the letters reached their destination. But a few hours lag in sending video and e-mail back and forth would be an insurmountable psychological barrier to colonists? Please... There are still locations on this planet that don't have access to internet. That doesn't stop people from living there.

Again, the remove locations on Earth that don't have internet access have animals and plants and fresh air and communities to keep people psychologically fit.

Offline fatjohn1408

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 316
  • Liked: 15
  • Likes Given: 13
Re: Internet Access for the New Mars Colony
« Reply #17 on: 06/06/2014 07:23 am »
Books are nice.  They are generally fault tolerant, have long storage lifetimes during power outages, and they can keep the colony warm during times of distress or religious fervor.

But a library weighs a lot more than a kindle.

Offline CuddlyRocket

Re: Internet Access for the New Mars Colony
« Reply #18 on: 06/07/2014 09:34 am »
Establishing an Internet link between Mars and Earth is straightforward. The only question is how much resources are you willing to apply to obtain a specified bandwidth.

Mars Express has a 1.6m high-gain antenna capable of transmitting 230 kilobits per second back to Earth, and the satellite has a maximum electrical power available of 650 watts. And the technology is 15 years old.

Amateur astronomers have robust systems capable of keeping much heavier telescopes pointed at a spot in the sky, so that shouldn't be a problem.

Given the signal time lag, colonists are not going to be surfing Earth websites like people on Earth do - it'll be more like click on a link and go off and have lunch. Or go to sleep.

Offline pippin

  • Regular
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2566
  • Liked: 293
  • Likes Given: 39
Re: Internet Access for the New Mars Colony
« Reply #19 on: 06/07/2014 01:32 pm »
Bandwidth will not be the real problem. The real problem will be that most internet services these days require real-time comm.
Essentially, the way to go will be to replicate the application part of the services on Mars (application servers) and sync the backend data with the data on earth.
Since you will have to do that pretty much for each service you will be limited to the use of those services who offer a dedicated Mars service.

All real-time stuff as well as simple web pages will be out of the loop, you'll probably invent some kind of batch request/cache service for static pages but there aren't a lot of these left.

And you can bet that the likes of Facebook and Google will be among the fist ones offering a solution so no escaping them :)

Tags: