Communication to other planets seemed like it was always many decades into the future. Perhaps we are taking a few steps closer to this reality, as a recent flood of investment capital surged in to fund projects inside the Space industry. Coming in the wake of new policy changes and deals made by the Trump Administration. Most importantly a large portion of this money is set to flow into private corporations like SpaceX instead of the traditional private-public space industry that is known to inflate prices.
Source: NASA JPL
SpaceX is definately the newest kid on the block. Constantly making major headlines including landing rockets and launching sports cars into orbit. They give hope to millions of space fans around the world who would like to see interplanetary space travel take place in the future. Say SpaceX or some other private company were successful in traveling to another planet, how could a large population communicate with people from back home? This brings up the problems facing many on the internet today. Centralization of data and communication networks.
If people cannot communicate with other planets, it could cause a shift in populations as well as make e-commerce between planets next to impossible. This makes it even more important to think about what kind of communication systems and backward compatibility do we truly want for our children and their grandchildren to use.
Many problems exist with centralization, the main being data being stored in central locations or by a single gatekeeper. A major flaw if wanting to do space travel, as having your mom's pictures on a Google drive will not do you any good if traveling to mars. The reason for this is that viewing Facebook on mars becomes impossible as soon as you leave the centralized networks based upon earth. The data connections would have such bad latency the likelihood of transferring data back and forth is highly improbable.
Interplanetary File System is a new file storage system utilizing a Merkel Dag and DHT technology from torrents. In simple terms, the network can allow neighbors to host and serve files to each other. In theory, they could even earn a bit of money by doing so. Mesh networking exists today as interesting but still experimental implementation of Internet services. Even so, more communities opt for this often cheaper route to distribute broadcast services into communities.
Say you want to download a picture with the IPFS network, but on mars. This becomes a possibility with the way the IPFS network operates. As every file has the same address no matter where it's located . Once cached into the first nodes on mars, other nodes jump in and also cache (or store) the file and some even pin them (or store permanently).
I believe the IPFS network and other blockchain related networks could have a positive impact on not only the quality of service, but also the censorship resistance of Internet ecosystem on both Earth and Mars. It just takes time to build these applications up to be able to complete with their legacy counterparts.