Hack Space Debris At Your Peril

Who has dibs on space debris? If getting to it were a solved problem, it sure would be fun to use dead orbital hardware as something of a hacker’s junk bin. Turns out there is some precedent for this, and regulations already in place in the international community.

To get you into the right frame of mind: it’s once again 2100 AD and hackers are living in mile-long space habitats in the Earth-Moon system. But from where do those hackers get their raw material, their hardware? The system abounds with space debris, defunct satellites from a century of technological progress. According to Earth maritime law, if space is to be treated like international waters then the right of salvage would permit them to take parts from any derelict. But is space like international waters? Or would hacking space debris result in doing hard time in the ice mines of Ceres?

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“Interplanetary internet” passes first test

NASA just completed the first deep-space test of what could one day become the interplanetary internet. Images of Mars and its moon Phobos were sent back and forth between computers on Earth and NASA’s Epoxi spacecraft. Instead of TCP/IP a new protocol, named “Disruption/Delay Tolerant Networking” (DTN) was used. Information is only sent once with DTN, and stored at each node until another node is available to receive the information.  To prevent hackers from interfering with the network, information that is transmitted over DTN is encrypted. The team at NASA is hoping to get the protocol accepted by the international community and setup a permanent node at the International Space Station next year.

[via Warren Ellis]

Thermal testing electronics for outer space

[3ricj] wrote up how to build your own low temperature test chamber to verify that electronics will function at the edge of the atmosphere/outerspace. He needs this for the edge of space project he’s working on. A large cooler serves as the test chamber. It’s cooled down to about 0c -42C with dry ice, then a supply of liquid nitrogen is fed into a copper heat exchanging coil to bring the chamber down to -70C.