$1 MILLION (Prize amount to be confirmed. Announcement expected for next year)
Interplanetary Internet is a conceived computer network in space, consisting of a set of network nodes that can communicate with each other.
These nodes are the planet’s orbiters (satellites) and landers (e.g., Curiosity Rover, robots), and the earth ground stations. For example, the orbiters collect the scientific data from the Curiosity rover on Mars through near-Mars communication links, transmit the data to Earth through direct links from the Mars orbiters to the Earth ground stations, and finally the data can be routed through Earth’s internal internet.
Interplanetary communication is greatly delayed by interplanetary distances, so a new set of protocols and technology that are tolerant to large delays and errors are required. The interplanetary Internet is a store and forward network of internets that is often disconnected, has a wireless backbone fraught with error-prone links and delays ranging from tens of minutes to even hours, even when there is a connection.
In the core implementation of Interplanetary Internet, satellites orbiting a planet communicate to other planet’s satellites. Simultaneously, these planets revolve around the Sun with long distances, and thus many challenges face the communications. The reasons and the resultant challenges are:
-The motion and long distances between planets;
-Low embeddable payload;
-Absence of fixed infrastructure.
The Interplanetary Internet design must address these challenges to operate successfully and achieve good communication with other planets. It also must use the few available resources efficiently in the system.