Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Designing the interplanetary web

Date:
April 13, 2012
Source:
European Space Agency (ESA)
Summary:
Reliable Internet access on the Moon, near Mars or for astronauts on a space station? How about controlling a planetary rover from a spacecraft in deep space? These are just some of the pioneering technologies that ESA is working on for future exploration missions.

Networking in space: Mars Express.
Credit: ESA/Alex Lutkus

Reliable Internet access on the Moon, near Mars or for astronauts on a space station? How about controlling a planetary rover from a spacecraft in deep space? These are just some of the pioneering technologies that ESA is working on for future exploration missions.

What do observation or navigation satellites orbiting Earth have in common with astronauts sending images in real time from the International Space Station? They all need to send data back home. And the complexity of sharing information across space is set to grow.

In the future, rovers on Mars or inhabited bases on the Moon will be supported by orbiting satellite fleets providing data relay and navigation services. Astronauts will fly to asteroids, hundreds of millions of kilometres from Earth, and they'll need to link up with other astronauts, control centres and sophisticated systems on their vessels.

All of these activities will need to be interconnected, networked and managed.

Supporting future exploration

"We are researching how today's technical standards for devices like mobile phones, laptops and portable computers can be applied to a new generation of networked space hardware," says Nestor Peccia, responsible for ground segment software development at ESA's Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

"But our future focus goes well beyond just networking; we're looking at how agencies like ESA and NASA cooperate in orbit and how to interchange data in real time between different organisations' spacecraft and ground stations, as well as reliable technical standards for spacecraft navigation and flight control."

Open technical standards through cooperation

Since 1982, experts from ESA, NASA and other major space organisations and industry have met periodically to develop new, open data communication standards as part of the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems.

Developing standards for space hardware and data interchange for space agencies, commercial spaceflight companies and satellite manufacturers promises to pay off even in the short term.

In the future, inter-satellite communication requirements are predicted to grow, and spacecraft should be capable of establishing powerful radio links with each other -- even while orbiting Mars at thousands of kilometres per hour.

In May 2008, ESA's Mars Express served as a crucial data relay node for NASA's Phoenix lander during descent and landing on the Red planet. Mars Express is set to repeat the feat in August with NASA's Mars Science Laboratory.

In December 2011, ESA's worldwide tracking station network was recruited to provide three hours' daily data contact for Russian mission controllers operating the Phobos-Grunt mission en route to Mars (the probe failed soon after launch for unrelated reasons).

Astronaut-machine interfaces at Mars

In October, ESA astronaut Andrι Kuipers on the International Space Station will practise remotely controlling a test rover located at ESA's Operations Centre to simulate orbiter-rover communication links at a planet like Mars.

This, too, requires robust communication links to allow astronauts, robots and control centre to work efficiently together.

"Setting technical standards and communication system architecture isn't the most high-profile part of space exploration, but it's absolutely vital for ensuring that the high-profile efforts -- like sending an astronaut to Mars -- will work as planned when that time comes," says Nestor.

These and other topics are set to be discussed at the CCSDS conference in Darmstadt on 16-19 April, which will bring together international space organisations from 20 spacefaring nations including ESA, NASA, ASI, CNES, Roscosmos, DLR and JAXA.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Space Agency (ESA). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Space Agency (ESA). "Designing the interplanetary web." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120413101129.htm>.
European Space Agency (ESA). (2012, April 13). Designing the interplanetary web. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120413101129.htm
European Space Agency (ESA). "Designing the interplanetary web." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120413101129.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Risk of Asteroid Hitting Earth Higher Than Thought, Study Shows

Risk of Asteroid Hitting Earth Higher Than Thought, Study Shows

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 23, 2014) — A group of space explorers say the chance of a city-obliterating asteroid striking Earth is higher than scientists previously believed. Deborah Gembara reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nuclear-Level Asteroids Might Be More Common Than We Realize

Nuclear-Level Asteroids Might Be More Common Than We Realize

Newsy (Apr. 23, 2014) — The B612 Foundation says asteroids strike Earth much more often than previously thought, and are hoping to build an early warning system. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two US Astronauts Step out on Spacewalk for ISS Repairs

Two US Astronauts Step out on Spacewalk for ISS Repairs

AFP (Apr. 23, 2014) — Two US astronauts stepped out on a brief spacewalk Wednesday to install a backup computer at the International Space Station after one failed earlier this month. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Chief Outlines Plan for Human Mission to Mars

NASA Chief Outlines Plan for Human Mission to Mars

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) — NASA administrator Charles Bolden, speaking at the 'Human to Mars Summit' in Washington, says that learning more about the Red Planet can help answer the 'fundamental question' of 'life beyond Earth'. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins