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NASA plays with Legos to test “interplanetary Internet”

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When things get slow on the International Space Station, those on the frontier of science do what everyone else does when the opportunity presents itself: Play with Legos.

Using the excuse of testing an interplanetary Internet,

… Space station Expedition 33 Commander Sunita Williams remotely drove a small LEGO robot at the European Space Operation Centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

Rather than simply being a really fun way to mess with unsuspecting Lego players on Earth, NASA and the European Space Agency hope such technology can be used to operate robots on Mars by humans in orbit around the planet or even from Earth, though they’re still having problems with disconnecting errors.

“With the new system, delays caused by spacecraft moving behind planets or solar storms disrupting communications are not a problem because the data packets are not discarded when the outages occur, but instead are stored as long as necessary until an opportunity arises that allows them to be transmitted”, said Adrian Hooke, manager of NASA’s Space DTN project at NASA Headquarters

Well, at least we know they’re not just screwing around up there.

Full story at NASA via Gizmodo and PSFK.

Fun with NASA.

Photo credit: Fotolia

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