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Tech

History of Online Games Launch

We took a look at the history of online gaming all the way from dial-up bulletin boards in the 1970s to augmented reality in present day. Follow the Tron light cycle as it guides you through major milestones in online gaming. Begin >

Tech

How Will Internet Work on Mars?

How will Internet work on the Red Planet? The Shortcut Team took a deeper look at what it might look like.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMUDfEhyi-o Video Transcript: Here on Earth, the Internet is powered by a web of fiber-optic cables. But how would it work on Mars? NASA has plans to put settlers on the Red Planet, so there’s a chance people you know may live there someday -- and when they do, they’ll want high-speed Internet. Problem is, space Internet can be as slow as dial-up. That’s because current methods rely on old-school radio transmissions. This wouldn’t work very well for Martians looking to stream or chat in real time. At their nearest, Mars and Earth are 34 million miles apart; and that’s why, with today’s tech, transmissions between Mars rovers and Earth have a delay of about 20 minutes. Since we can’t run Internet cables between planets, we’ll need to use satellites differently than we do now. NASA thinks lasers may be the answer. A laser wave is about (one hundred thousand times) 100,000x shorter than a radio wave. That means more room to carry data in the same amount of space -- about 5x more. Smaller waves also mean better signal strength and a more reliable connection. Fortunately, the tech we need already exists. In a mission called the Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration, NASA tested laser transmission speeds that shattered previous records. Experts believe lasers will be able to handle HD videos and more. Today, radio messages to Mars are routed through retired satellites. But the network would need more, and newer, satellites to handle data-heavy requests like streaming. NASA is focussed on upgrading and adding to existing satellites to build a laser-powered space Internet network. So, how will the Internet work on Mars? Much the way it works here on Earth -- just with lasers and satellites instead of cables. We have some work to do to get there, but the future of movie marathons on Mars looks pretty bright.