Verizon buys enough fiber to reach Mars, sorta

20 April 2017 by Steve Blum
, , ,

Make it quick.

Verizon is pumping up the volume about its three year deal with Corning to spend $1.05 billion on “fiber optic cable and associated hardware”. It even got a congratulatory (and self-congratulatory) press release from Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai. As it should It’s a big commitment and will add a considerable amount of potential bandwidth to the U.S. supply.

Verizon also claims that it will be buying “up to” 20 million kilometers (12.4 million miles, it helpfully adds) of “optical fiber” each year, from 2018 through 2020.… More

Bring your own business plan and be ready to die, if you want to go to Mars

1 October 2016 by Steve Blum
, , ,

Elon Musk outlined his technical roadmap for getting to Mars in a remarkable hour and a half long presentation at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico on Tuesday. Most of what’s been written about it has focused on two themes: the need for a back-up planet in case something catastrophic happens on Earth and the $200,000 ticket price for a ride to Mars. The latter isn’t exactly accurate, and the former is not Musk’s reason for doing it.… More

Mars is underserved

2 August 2014 by Steve Blum
, , , ,

NASA is asking for private sector ideas to upgrade broadband infrastructure on Mars. Right now, there’s a 2 Mbps link between Earth and Mars orbit, and 500 Kbps between orbit and rovers on the surface. More bandwidth is expected to arrive in orbit in the next few years, but not enough to keep up with planned surface missions. So NASA has issued a request for information, in the hopes of finding a partner who can offer a sustainable solution

The RFI details possible new business models that would involve NASA contracting to purchase services from a commercial service provider, which would own and operate one or more communication relay orbiters.


The business case for Mars

1 March 2013 by Steve Blum
, ,

At least we have each other. And a deodorant sponsor.

Dennis Tito wants to send a middle-aged married couple to Mars and back. No landing, just once around the Red Planet and home. He’s a multimillionaire who began his career as a genuine rocket scientist then applied his math skills to investing, where he made his fortune. He spent some of it becoming the first space tourist in 2001, and he plans to spend even more on a privately funded Mars mission.… More