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NASA and network engineers are currently working to extend the Internet to other worlds by adapting its architecture to space communications.

Among the champions of the Interplanetary Internet, or IPN, is Vinton Cerf, one of the Internet’s founding fathers.

“By 2040, we hope a stable interplanetary backbone can be established

between the planets,” Cerf said last month at a White House presentation.

One major obstacle is the fact that radio signals could take as long as 20 minutes to travel the distance between Mars and Earth. Experts say such delays would wreak havoc on a classical Internet, which is heavily based on the notion of interactivity.

To cope with this cosmic speed limit, network architects envision a “network of Internets,” linked together with new protocols, allowing information to be bundled and processed as a single transaction.

A detailed report is available online at