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Deep Space Network Gets a Boost


Despite the incredible technological advancement that the space age has seen due to NASA’s incredible team of scientists and engineers, our attempts to perform masterful feats in space exploration remains quite feeble. The Voyager 1 launched in 1977 is currently 1.83×1010 km, or 1.95369637 × 10-10 light years, away from the earth. This may seem far at first glimpse, yet this distance corresponds to 1.95369637 × 10-10 light years, which is pathetic when the distance to the nearest solar system is 4.2421 light years away. Sadly, the extent of our space exploration has been limited to our solar system, of which we still know very little. All of this is about to change…drastically.

In February of 2010, NASA began replacing an aging set of Earth-based deep space antennas with new ones that will allow us to communicate with distant probes far more efficiently than the broadband connections in the typical home. Before the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover (known to the public as Curiosity), landed on Mars this Summer 2012, the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER), Spirit and  Opportunity,  were the most recent martian explorers. Launched in June and July 2003, these rovers could only communicate with earth at a rate of less than 6 megabits per second, and due to recent upgrades communication with these rovers, and future technologies is more than 600 megabits per second.

This huge boost for the deep space network, although integrated nearly 2 years ago, will see its benefits most predominantly in the years to come as space exploration is offered more mission possibilities. As we strengthen the connection between spacecraft and the earth, as well as spacecraft with each other, we can create a more comprehensive understanding of the massive universe that we live in. It is the birth of a new network, a network that has the most potential for growth and expansion as it is only limited by the size of space… infinite. As our technology develops and we become more competent, we can create weak inter-solar system connections only to be upgraded themselves as we branch further into the beginnings of inter-galactic connections. These connections can begin to include planetary connection instead of just spacecraft connection as well… the possibilities are endless. Much of this logical prediction follows the principle of  triadic closure. As we begin to extend our spacial and interstellar connections, we will see a “filling” or “closure” of unconnected nodes that exist on lower levels. As growth continues, this process of connection “closure” will begin to exponentially become faster.

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