10 Best Ideas for Interplanetary Communication

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Author's Note: 10 Best Ideas for Interplanetary Communication

The notion of, say, sending live, streaming video from Mars to Earth may not seem that far-out to a member of the millennial generation, who grew up in an age when having a cell phone conversation with someone on the other side of the planet is no big deal. But it remains pretty mind-boggling to me, perhaps because I'm old enough to remember how difficult and expensive it once was just to place an old-fashioned analog long-distance phone call from the East Coast to California. I got a little shock a few years back, when I contacted a source for an article by e-mail, and got a call back from him -- via Skype -- from Afghanistan, where he had traveled for a business project. Since then, I've gotten a bit more used to our ever-increasing connectivity; the other day, I actually spent a half-hour exchanging a stream of back-and-forth e-mails with an old colleague who now lives in France, only to be interrupted by an instant message from another friend in the north of England. So I look forward to the inevitable day when I'll be exchanging witticisms and complaining about the weather with someone who's in orbit above me.

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