Posted January 17, 2008 11:26 pm by with 3 comments

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You know, just last week, I was saying to myself: “Isn’t it obvious that spacecraft should have Internet on them, too?” I mean, seriously, astronauts probably don’t have enough time to look at porn and stupid YouTube videos while they’re in months of intense training; we’ve got to do something about those inhumane conditions.

Oh, wait, that quote wasn’t me, that was Google CEO Eric Schmidt. And it wasn’t last week, it was yesterday, and it also wasn’t said to me, it was said to NASA.

Because I’m sure that’s the space program’s #1 concern: Internet access in space. Infrastructure, people! We are way behind on projections to colonize the Moon, Mars, et al.—and to get there, we are going to have to make some serious strides in infrastructure: electricity, Internet, um . . . cell phone towers. Et cetera.

Am I talking crazy talk? Oh yeah. But at least I know it. As CNET reports:

Schmidt urged the space agency to take after what Google attempts to accomplish with its products: Build open, collaborative systems, not closed ones–a reference to NASA’s legacy of creating mission-specific vehicles. Create simple platforms upon which others can build. And while you’re at it, why not let spacecraft talk to each other?

Yeah, why not? Spacecraft are probably just as bored as the astronauts, if not more so.

CNET points out that if NASA wants to be “open,” Google may not be the best model to follow:

Even Google itself, of course, isn’t open about everything. It limits visitors to its campus, and they’re asked to sign off on non-disclosure agreements before printing out identification badges. Not all of its source code are open to inspection, and it’s page-ranking techniques aren’t either.

I’m hoping the “Isn’t it obvious” statement (and several other statements) was met with laughter. Because, really, isn’t it obvious that there has got to be something more important to do in space than Google?

  • I actully think it is a great idea for astronauts to have acess to the internet. I can just imagine the sort of cabin fever that those guys probably suffer out there in space!

  • Google probably wants access for GIS purposes… More maps for Google Earth and its search functions. I don’t believe Google’s intentions are altruistic.

  • What will they think of next? I’m sure that astronauts have better things to do with their time than surf the Web 🙂

    Alan Johnson