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Elon Musk plans to build a space internet

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KimiNewt

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I think you guys are kind of misreading this. Yes, one of the motives is to get internet to Mars (which would obviously use sat tech) but that's not all.

By launching lots of sats to low-Earth orbit rather than a few to geosynchronous orbit, you can get better latency (since they're much closer) but at the cost of building and launching more sats.
You could both solve the problem of bad/non-existent internet in sparsely populated places and even use sats in places that have previously thought they ought to use fiber (i.e. mildly populated places in first-world countries).

This is good for Elon because:
a. entering the communications satellite market (which is currently a duopoly) shouldn't be too hard with SpaceX's tech and can be an extra source of revenue for them, until they're really profitable.
b. creating a market of LEO communication satellites means a hell of a lot more launches. If that market is profitable, then more launches would be required and those would obviously go to SpaceX (the cheapest route there is these days, which will probably only grow cheaper).
c. create better communications tech which could be useful on Mars (but honestly, this is one field in which we don't really need that many improvements. It's certainly not the bottleneck).
 

ComputerMKII

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As much as I respect Elon Musk, I think the meme/cult of personality surrounding him is somewhat ridiculous. It reminds me of those who write 'SCIENCE, YEAH!' as soon as they see a headline from the scientific press.
 

Marc

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Should wait until the quantum entanglement tech is ready to use for satellites.

I wonder about the legality of who 'controls' this ISP, can China demand it blocks access for its country? Can the USA/Britain snoop on its people asking for the ISP to hand over data? Paypal were certainly complicit in throwing peoples rights in the toilet.


Anyway, it is cool Musk keeps thinking of these projects and has the money/power to push them through. Most billionaires are boring as fuck and have no imagination for using their money for amazing things, mostly just buy stupid boats.
 

DieH@rd

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Dec 9, 2006
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Our current downstream from Mars [when everything is aligned in best positions] using current orbiting satellites around it and our deep space radar network is 3mbits. :D

Heck, I have 0.8mbit upload in my home, and I can't even pay to get more. :D :D :D
 

StayDead

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Didn't I read someone else is planning to do a satellite internet network too?

5 years as a base sounds kinda optomistic to me. Be then again what do I know, just seems pretty futuristic, getting internet from anywhere on the planet.

VSAT internet already exists, it's not perfect though. I really hope this is real purely on the basis it could connect everyone on the planet here to the internet, something that in 2015 we're still having huge issues with. Companies for the most part are just not willing to spend enough money to connect rural locations up to the network, let alone with fibre.

Internet access should become some form of human right as it's so beneficial to humanity at this point. The entire breadth and depth of human knowledge is just sitting there on servers waiting to be accessed.
 
Apr 12, 2013
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This guy is absolutely amazing. Whether he succeeds or fails at whatever it is he's doing he's always trying to push things further which is fantastic. History will thank him.
 

Marc

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So people on Mars is still a thing? Umm why?

Is that a serious question?

Getting people on other planets and expanding humanity is generally the point of any species, migration is key to survival.

There are like a million other reasons and it shouldn't be very hard for any person sufficiently educated to come up with some themselves.
 

Rad-

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Is that a serious question?

Getting people on other planets and expanding humanity is generally the point of any species, migration is key to survival.

There are like a million other reasons and it shouldn't be very hard for any person sufficiently educated to come up with some themselves.

The point was that why Mars? Haven't we already found better alternatives to start with like Europa.
 

UberTag

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Feb 17, 2011
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Elon Musk wants to do lots of random shit.

Tell me when he's actually fucking doing it in 2030.
Next week on The Simpsons, Elon Musk does some random shit...

 

Stereogatari

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I've often thought of the problem that trying to expand the internet to Mars would create. How do you get around that lag.
 

Dilly

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Isn't Europa potentially easier environmentally? It has liquid water already.

Potential oceans under a crust of ice that's 15-25km thick.

It wouldn't make sense to go directly to Europe and skipping Mars.

Anyway, straight from NASA themselves:

Could we send astronauts to Europa?
The travel time and energy required are so large that it will be many decades before we have the technology and vehicles large enough to do the job safely. Even if we develop the ability to send people to Europa, the giant magnetic field of Jupiter traps belts of atomic particles that move at high speed and with great energy. Europa orbits Jupiter within these radiation belts, making it impractical (or perhaps impossible) for astronauts to safely work there without some very advanced form of shielding.
https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/europa/faq.cfm
 

Ether_Snake

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Dec 2, 2006
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There's no need to send humans on Europa, we'll send robots.

Even on Mars it's not really needed, except to make up for a lack of advancement on the robots front.
 

Dilly

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There's no need to send humans on Europa, we'll send robots.

Even on Mars it's not really needed, except to make up for a lack of advancement on the robots front.

Not developing technology to transport humans between planets is a big mistake, and I'm glad at least private companies are working on it now.
 

Marc

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Quantum entanglement can't be used to transmit information FTL.

I didn't say that, or why even use satellites. Just meant it would help ensure security as it is easier to tap a signal than a cable.

The point was that why Mars? Haven't we already found better alternatives to start with like Europa.

Mars is much closer which is essential right now, much better conditions to work in (think of Jupiter as a mini-sun), provably landed already and could potentially be terraformed. There may be water at Mars underground as well, wells could be drilled.

Also by the time any Mars mission is built I imagine we'll have molecular/nano manufacturing to a decent level to re-purpose Mars materials. Team of a few guys with a couple of them equipped, building replicas of themselves to build prefabbed worker robots. Could have them build a city ready and waiting for the next batch run of people.
 

CadetMahoney

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I used to assume that the Internet was done with satellites already. Blew my mind when I realized it was just undersea cables n shit.

I always thought satellites where used too in some form or another.

"under da sea, under da sea" - little mermaid.
 

jmood88

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As much as I respect Elon Musk, I think the meme/cult of personality surrounding him is somewhat ridiculous. It reminds me of those who write 'SCIENCE, YEAH!' as soon as they see a headline from the scientific press.

What's ridiculous about it? He's not only one of the few people advocating for a bunch of changes to the way we do things who actually works on making those ideas real (except the hyperloop). Unlike a lot of people, the hype surrounding him has been earned.
 

Timedog

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Hmmm, i wonder if this has any relation to the drop in oil?

I was pondering the same thing a few weeks ago.

What's ridiculous about it? He's not only one of the few people advocating for a bunch of changes to the way we do things who actually works on making those ideas real (except the hyperloop). Unlike a lot of people, the hype surrounding him has been earned.

Isn't he building a test track for hyperloop?
 

GK86

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Jan 28, 2008
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From the NYT (behind paywell, "Google Nears $1 Billion Investment in SpaceX"):

Google Inc. is close to investing roughly $1 billion in Space Exploration Technologies Corp. to support its nascent efforts to deliver Internet access via satellites, according to a person familiar with the matter.
 

jotun?

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You could both solve the problem of bad/non-existent internet in sparsely populated places and even use sats in places that have previously thought they ought to use fiber (i.e. mildly populated places in first-world countries).
With enough bandwidth between satellites (probably not in the first version) they could actually make a good replacement for intercontinental fiber links, since the speed of light in vacuum is around 40% faster than through fiber
 

Raistlin

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Elegant but brilliant solution.


Without reading up on it, I can envision what he's doing here. Through fiber the speed of light is reduced. A way to alleviate that is via microwave towers, but then you have to contend with the curvature of the Earth since they require line-of-sight. That necessitates millions of towers, plus significant slowdowns due to repeaters and routing. So instead we use fiber in most regions, through tons and tons of routers and signal boosters.

Traditional satellite concepts avoid these problems, but have their own. We don't have enough up there, and traditional orbit heights incur massive bandwidth loss from distance and atmospheric interference.



What he is proposing is keeping the satellites low enough to reduce bandwidth loss, but high enough that they still have direct line-of-site over a significant distance. Picture it as a massive geodesic dome encompassing the planet, with the vertices as satellites, and the facet lines as lines-of-site for the emitters/receivers. The beauty of such a facet design is that over a significant area, you don't simply have one line-of-site. It's actually a matrix where you can parallelize distribution via multiple emitters and routers in each satellite. The data is able to utilize satellites concurrently in order to increase bandwidth. Thus further reducing the typical bottlenecks that occur on ground-based backbones that in many regions are reduced to single or only a few trunks connecting nodes.

This simple design essentially side-steps every bottleneck of current distribution systems.
 
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