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How will the internet work on Mars?

An exploration of interplanetary networking, how it costs $1bn to put YouTube on Mars, and why Ethereum is better than Bitcoin as a Mars currency.

David Mytton David Mytton

2021-07-27

There are many challenges to building human settlements on Mars. The most efficient launch opportunity windows only arise every 2.2 years when Mars is closest to Earth. Best journey times are 3-6 months. The atmosphere is primarily CO2, and it is very cold.

Once we have figured out how to get there and how to reliably support human life (some are aiming for this decade), questions of quality of life become relevant. This includes producing water and food, staying fit and healthy, socialising and entertainment. Normal things humans like to do.

Earth Mars
3-6 months every 2.2 years
Earth Warm, O2 😊
Mars Cold, CO2 😐
No internet 😬

One of the resources we have come to take for granted is access to the internet. Whether to look up information, send email or watch a video, internet access is now fundamental to modern life. However, all of these services are based on Earth. The internet was designed based on a number of assumptions that will no longer be true if we want to offer the same experience to citizens of Mars.

This article will examine those assumptions, discuss the challenges and consider possible solutions to setting up the internet on Mars.

David Mytton
About the author

David Mytton is co-founder of Console. From 2009-2018, David was CEO at Server Density, a SaaS server monitoring startup used by hundreds of customers to collect billions of time series metrics from millions of servers. He is also a researcher in sustainable computing at Uptime Institute and affiliated with Imperial College London. David has been a developer for over 15 years.

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