Google is working with NASA to develop a new efficient communications system in space.
Having jointly designed the networking protocols that launched the internet, Vint Cerf, Google vice-president and chief internet evangelist, is now working with NASA on expanding the web's reach.
Currently, astronauts and robotic spacecraft communicate with Earth using point-to-point radio links and communications that are tailored to specific space missions.
This way of doing things inhibits interoperability and the reuse of communications equipment.
Cerf is working with a team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to design a new comms system. The project, known as the Interplanetary Internet, will be tested aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in 2009.
Cerf hopes that by 2010, new space missions will be designed to use the new protocols, he told Technology Review.