This Antarctic Selfie Is Helping Build the Interplanetary Internet

Delay Tolerant Networking is the future of getting online in space.

By Daniel Oberhaus | MOTHERBOARD

The selfie above is remarkable for a number of reasons. In the first place, it features three NASA engineers at the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station, the largest research base in Antarctica. There’s also the picture inside the picture featuring Vint Cerf, best known as the “father of the internet” for his role in creating the protocols that determine how information is sent on the web.

However the most remarkable thing about this photo is what’s not pictured: the interplanetary internet it is helping to create.

After taking this photo on November 20, the NASA engineers sent it from McMurdo to the International Space Station. Although many of us trade selfies on a daily basis, sending a snapshot between two of the most remote human habitats in existence requires more than just opening up your photo app of choice. In this case, these NASA researchers were reliant on an experimental way of routing data called Delay (or Disruption) Tolerant Networking, and it’s the future of the internet in interplanetary space.

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