Last Saturday, Elon Musk participated in an Ask Me Anything (AMA) forum on Reddit to answer some questions regarding SpaceX’s latest rocket, the “BFR”. One Reddit user find this opportunity to ask Musk if SpaceX has any plan or interest on the idea of a Martian internet connection.
“Does SpaceX have any interest in putting more satellites in orbit around Mars (or even rockets) for internet/communications before we get feet on the ground? Or are the current 5-6 active ones we have there sufficient?” the user asked.
Musk, who is very participative throughout the AMA responded, “If anyone wants to build a high bandwidth comm link to Mars, please do.”
“But, yes, it would make sense to strip the headers out and do a UDP-style feed with extreme compression and a CRC check to confirm the packet is good, then do a batch resend of the CRC-failed packets. Something like that. Earth to Mars is over 22 light-minutes at max distance.” he continued, “3 light-minutes at closest distance. So you could Snapchat, I suppose. If that’s a thing in the future.”
This isn’t the first time that the idea of interplanetary internet was discussed by Musk. Back in 2015, he suggested an idea of placing hundreds of satellites 1,200km. (720 miles) above Earth to achieve this idea. Futurism also recalled Musk’s conversation with Bloomberg Businessweek where he told them that, “Our focus is on creating a global communications system that would be larger than anything that has been talked about to date.”
The idea of internet connection on Mars is quite feasible. However, since humans is yet to set foot on the planet, the idea will remain last on the list as there are more things the company is far more concerned doing right now.