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    Default Interplanetary Internet

    Hypothetically, if Mars were colonized and the colony was thriving, how would the internet need to change to deal with the 8 to 40 minute delay for a signal to get from one planet to the other and back? and to deal with any outages that would be caused when the sun was juxtaposed between them?

    Obviously it would be entirely impractical to try to mirror the entire internet on both planets, so what other options are there to avoid going back to early 1990's loading times?

    Additionally what would be the best way to handle non-static sites like messageboards and news sites, sites that can change from moment to moment (at least if the thread is popular or the news is breaking)? Would it make sense to have some way to request a constant feed of periodic updates for a given period of time?

    And whhat would happen if a connection cut out? Would there be any way to avoid having to wait the full 8-40 minutes to find out the signal didn;t go through? Maybe automatically sending multiple copies of each request and response?

    What other issues might come up and what other solutions might there be?
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    Default Re: Interplanetary Internet

    Unfortunately, "mirroring" the Internet between the two planets and sending updates each way as fast as possible is realistically the only way this *could* work. Which is why it would never happen--Mars would have its own Internet entirely separate from Earth's, with maybe some slow links between them for non-time-critical stuff like e-mail.

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    Default Re: Interplanetary Internet

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Unfortunately, "mirroring" the Internet between the two planets and sending updates each way as fast as possible is realistically the only way this *could* work.
    How come???
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    Default Re: Interplanetary Internet

    Quantum entanglement could help maybe? I donít understand quantum mechanics nearly well enough to be certain but it feels like it could be abused for FTL information travel.
    Last edited by Fyraltari; 2020-06-30 at 03:12 AM.

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    Default Re: Interplanetary Internet

    No. Quantum entanglement does cause a wave function collapse simultaneously regardless of distance, but it can't be used to communicate.
    By measuring an entangled particle you know instantly the state of the other particle, but at the same moment the entanglement is broken. Anything you'd do to your particle no longer affects the other.
    Quantum entanglement communication is not a real thing.
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    Default Re: Interplanetary Internet

    Welp, I got nuthin.

    Put me down for Ďmostly separate internet with some delay for the really important stuff.í
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    the Vector Legion [is the IFCC's new pawns], mark my words. Way too much unfinished business there and they already know about the Gates.
    I'll take that bet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    Quantum entanglement could help maybe? I donít understand quantum mechanics nearly well enough to be certain but it feels like it could be abused for FTL information travel.
    It could be done, but it'd be very hard to scale this enough to create a quantum internet. That doesn't stop researchers from trying, but I think we'll have a decent-size mars-base long before we figure this one out.

    I agree that with current technology you'd need to create some kind of local internet for most browsing. This most likely wouldn't be a a copy of the entire earth internet, but instead a cache of the most used things (facebook, the popular bits of youtube, wikipedia, tvtropes, certain adult entertainment sites, etc.). Likely, this system would be programmed to cache more things based on the browsing habits of its users as well (so if lots of DnD players went to Mars, there'd likely be a copy of giantitp in there as well). However, I'd also expect certain services to become localized. Martians would have access to earth twitter, facebook, discord and messaging boards, but they'd likely have their own social media as well, because real-time conversation would be very difficult at the best of times (that 40 minutes back and forth is an average, it can be half that, but also double that).
    Last edited by DeTess; 2020-06-30 at 03:48 AM.
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    Default Re: Interplanetary Internet

    Quote Originally Posted by DeTess View Post
    It could be done, but it'd be very hard to scale this enough to create a quantum internet. That doesn't stop researchers from trying, but I think we'll have a decent-size mars-base long before we figure this one out.

    I agree that with current technology you'd need to create some kind of local internet for most browsing. This most likely wouldn't be a a copy of the entire earth internet, but instead a cache of the most used things (facebook, the popular bits of youtube, wikipedia, tvtropes, certain adult entertainment sites, etc.). Likely, this system would be programmed to cache more things based on the browsing habits of its users as well (so if lots of DnD players went to Mars, there'd likely be a copy of giantitp in there as well). However, I'd also expect certain services to become localized. Martians would have access to earth twitter, facebook, discord and messaging boards, but they'd likely have their own social media as well, because real-time conversation would be very difficult at the best of times (that 40 minutes back and forth is an average, it can be half that, but also double that).
    Putting aside my sincere hope that Facebook and YouTube (in its current form) die in a trash fire long before we get enough people with enough time on their hands on Mars to require an Internet, Iíd be seriously disappointed if the Martian Internet just ended up aping the Earth One rather than do its own thing. Creativity, people!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    the Vector Legion [is the IFCC's new pawns], mark my words. Way too much unfinished business there and they already know about the Gates.
    I'll take that bet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    Putting aside my sincere hope that Facebook and YouTube (in its current form) die in a trash fire long before we get enough people with enough time on their hands on Mars to require an Internet, Iíd be seriously disappointed if the Martian Internet just ended up aping the Earth One rather than do its own thing. Creativity, people!
    Somewhat agreed on the facebook and youtube thing, but keep in mind that if they go down, they'll just get replaced by something similar (so even if the names change, my comment stands). Regarding creativity and aping he earth internet, I really see no reason why the basics of the internet would, or should, be different. The internet is infrastructure and will be optimized for ease of use. There's no reason to start from scratch if you've already got a model and decades of design lessons to base it on. Any creativity expressed by the martian colony will be through art (including music, literature, architecture and the like), not through the way they design their basic infrastructure.
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    Default Re: Interplanetary Internet

    I think the answer is "people just have to get used to the lag".

    Looking back at the internet before there was a world-wide-web the closest thing there was to the modern bulletin boards (like these forums) were the Usenet newsgroups. (OK the closest I am aware of.)

    People posted messages and looked at replies in much the same fashion (if through a totally different interface) as they do now and no-one worried about the speed of response. Instant response gratification is a modern thing in terms of the internet.
    An example of this in science fiction occurring over interstellar distances in in Vernor Vinge's novel 'A Fire Upon the Deep'. It's not overly relevant to the novel, it is used as "colour" between chapters - a look at some of the messages going back and forth between civilizations. At one point in the novel there is a region that has "gone dark" and the messages reflect this by asking who has heard from where as they travel round the affected area through alternative routings.

    I think each planet would have its own world-wide-web, providing the instant access stuff we know and love/hate.
    Between planets information would still flow in message packets. I suspect they will still be far more formatted than they where in the days of Usenet - probably similar to what we get now (this depends on bandwidth effects), but the formatting would reflect both date of sending and date of receipt (and probably transmission time) so that people would simply have to accept that a question they read may well have been answered before it was sent, the answer just hadn't arrived.

    One other thing (again lifted from a sci-fi story, this time a short one) - continuous transmission is the way to go.
    I cannot remember the name of the story or who wrote it (it feels like an Asimov) but contact had been made with aliens near one of the outer planets (I think they were only visiting the solar system so there was only a limited window for communication). The problem was with the huge lag on lightspeed transmissions how to communicate anything useful. The protagonist's mother (used to gossiping non-stop) suggested that they both just keep talking, if they need to ask a question the answer can be slipped into the data stream by the other party once they have received it, but in general just keep sending what you want the others to know.

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    Default Re: Interplanetary Internet

    Quote Originally Posted by DeTess View Post
    It could be done, but it'd be very hard to scale this enough to create a quantum internet. That doesn't stop researchers from trying, but I think we'll have a decent-size mars-base long before we figure this one out.
    I'm not a physicist, but as far as I know the current understanding is that it can't be done. There is no way to send any information through quantum entanglement without another supporting data stream. It's not a single bit per entangled pair or something like that, it's actually zero bits of useful data.

    Basically measuring the state on one end tells you what the state on the other end was at that exact same time, but the state on both ends is random, there is no way to set the state without breaking the link. Possibly useful for cryptography, but not for sending information faster than light.
    Last edited by Lvl 2 Expert; 2020-06-30 at 05:29 AM.

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    Default Re: Interplanetary Internet

    Quote Originally Posted by DeTess View Post
    Somewhat agreed on the facebook and youtube thing, but keep in mind that if they go down, they'll just get replaced by something similar (so even if the names change, my comment stands). Regarding creativity and aping he earth internet, I really see no reason why the basics of the internet would, or should, be different. The internet is infrastructure and will be optimized for ease of use. There's no reason to start from scratch if you've already got a model and decades of design lessons to base it on. Any creativity expressed by the martian colony will be through art (including music, literature, architecture and the like), not through the way they design their basic infrastructure.
    Just because it happened to have structured itself that way doesnít mean it is the only way it can structure itself.
    Right now, the internet is organized with a variety of specialist sites (video sharing, social networks, blogs, etc). Could it have structured itself otherwise? Maybe. I donít know.

    What I do now is that the Internet is one of the most (if not the most) rapidly evolving social phenomenon we, standing apes, came up with. It will be unrecognizable 50 years from now.

    Once we have two different and mostly separate communication networks, I expect each to keep evolving at a similar rate but in wildly different directions, with their own trends and customs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    the Vector Legion [is the IFCC's new pawns], mark my words. Way too much unfinished business there and they already know about the Gates.
    I'll take that bet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl 2 Expert View Post
    I'm not a physicist, but as far as I know the current understanding is that it can't be done. There is no way to send any information through quantum entanglement without another supporting data stream. It's not a single bit per entangled pair or something like that, it's actually zero bits of useful data.

    Basically measuring the state on one end tells you what the state on the other end was at that exact same time, but the state on both ends is random, there is no way to set the state without breaking the link. Possibly useful for cryptography, but not for sending information faster than light.
    From my (admittedly, very short) internet search the suggestion was that it was a very difficult problem actively being worked on. So not so much 'impossible' as 'not possible anytime soon'. I could be wrong or misinterpreting some terms though. For example, some articles I saw talking about a 'quantum internet' where definitely talking about it in the cryptographic sense, while others weren't quite as clear on that.
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    Default Re: Interplanetary Internet

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    How come???
    Because people aren't going to wait 40 minutes for a page to load after clicking the link, and absent FTL communications (which are impossible according to all known physics) that's what they'd have to do without some sort of local mirroring of the Internet. I suppose it's possible they could just have a planet-wide Martian caching proxy server which everyone uses to access the Earth internet, but then you also run into bandwidth limitations--you can transfer a heck of a lot more data over a fibre-optic cable than you can wirelessly over a distance of tens of millions of miles. The simple fact is they're not going to spend the vast amounts of money needed to allow people on Mars to access Earth internet when that offers minimal benefits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeTess View Post
    From my (admittedly, very short) internet search the suggestion was that it was a very difficult problem actively being worked on. So not so much 'impossible' as 'not possible anytime soon'.
    I feel that in discussing hypothetical physics tech stuff it's always good to distinguish between "really complex, not possible anytime soon" and "quite possibly/unless our current understanding of the matter proves wrong impossible".

    It's not the same as "for sure impossible", but it's very different from "pretty sure it's far future possible". Human immortality is in the second category, faster then light anything in the first.
    Last edited by Lvl 2 Expert; 2020-06-30 at 08:01 AM.

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    Default Re: Interplanetary Internet

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Because people aren't going to wait 40 minutes for a page to load after clicking the link, and absent FTL communications (which are impossible according to all known physics) that's what they'd have to do without some sort of local mirroring of the Internet. I suppose it's possible they could just have a planet-wide Martian caching proxy server which everyone uses to access the Earth internet, but then you also run into bandwidth limitations--you can transfer a heck of a lot more data over a fibre-optic cable than you can wirelessly over a distance of tens of millions of miles. The simple fact is they're not going to spend the vast amounts of money needed to allow people on Mars to access Earth internet when that offers minimal benefits.
    I know a guy that hangs fibre for a living. I bet if I asked, he could get me an estimate by the end of the week.

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    I see any Mars colony having its own local mainframe and intranet. Connecting to Earth's network would be maybe a once per day or weekly thing for critical data and pertinent news. Kiss your instagram feed goodbye, but text-only interplanetary forums may still be a thing. It won't be slow like dial-up, like in the days when I watched a screen cap of Super Mario 64 load line by line over the course of eighteen minutes; it'll be more like snail mail, where you expect your packet of data to be delivered by a certain date and time and then you have it in its entirety. Sending will be less of a conversation and more like writing a formal letter, folding it into an envelope, and affixing a stamp before it can go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Hypothetically, if Mars were colonized and the colony was thriving, how would the internet need to change to deal with the 8 to 40 minute delay for a signal to get from one planet to the other and back? and to deal with any outages that would be caused when the sun was juxtaposed between them?

    Obviously it would be entirely impractical to try to mirror the entire internet on both planets [...]
    While it may seem impractical at first, that's very likely how it would work. Why? Because that is already how it works right now (for the most part). While it is very obvious that people wouldn't want to wait for 8-40 minutes when they click a link, it turns out that they don't even want to wait for 2-3 seconds. They want it instantly. That's why the Internet is already extremely redundant and has a lot of caching functionality. Larger services like Google, Youtube, etc. will also have their own redundancies in place.

    Even if the delays were acceptable, undersea cables cost a lot of money and have limited bandwidth. At some point it simply becomes cheaper to build another data center on another continent instead of laying more cable (of course, in reality both are necessary to scale quickly enough to meet current demand). Consider watching a Youtube video from a European youtuber in the US. If only one person watches it, it's simpler to transmit it once and be done. But as soon as multiple people are watching it, it becomes more cost efficient to synchronize once across all global servers and then answer requests from the nearest server to the user.

    While the Internet might seem like "one thing" from the outside, it isn't. It contains plenty of caches, duplicated data, and works very much in an asynchronous fashion already. Having interplanetory internet would clearly add some challenges but the core techniques of asynchronous transfer and caching are already in use today.
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    Default Re: Interplanetary Internet

    It seems like syncing would be more difficult because of the delay though. If something went wrong it could take up to 40 minutes to get the error message back.
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    Default Re: Interplanetary Internet

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    It seems like syncing would be more difficult because of the delay though. If something went wrong it could take up to 40 minutes to get the error message back.
    That's only a problem if you use a protocol that requires every packet to be acknowledged error-free before you send the next one. You wouldn't use such a protocol for a forty minute lag; in fact, the Internet as it exists here on Earth doesn't use a protocol like that--TCP/IP doesn't guarantee the order in which packets will arrive, because, in the event a packet fails to send and an error is returned, it will just re-send the packet then and there without regard of where it belongs in the larger data stream. This is why audio and video don't work well over a flaky Internet connection, because both really require all the packets to arrive in the right order or else things go wrong.

    In the case of a caching protocol which is doing an update, it will presumably only update the entire file when it knows it has received it in full and error-free--up until that point, any local person requesting that item will get the old one.

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    Default Re: Interplanetary Internet

    I was musing is there any utility in a waystation to relay communication, effectively it could cut communications in half if you only need to transmit something half the way? So we'd end up with something similar here where you more or less browse a local copy of you closest datacentre that then propagate updates.

    Ofc then I started thinking that such a waystation might not be practical anyway.

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    ISP network admin here. Mars-based caching servers is exactly what would happen. Why? Because bandwidth- and lagsensitive services like streaming video and game servers are already doing that. On phone, so I'll keep this brief, linebreak- and sourceless: interconnect bandwidths are ridiculously low. Most ISPs peer with 1 to 10 Gbit/sec connections, the bigger ones with 100 or bigger, but that's the exception. Their backbones however are way bigger usually. Also, peering costs money. So Netflix, Google et al actually have server in most of the bigger ISPs networks that get asynchronously updated, sometimes via their own interconnect network, because then they only have to worry about the performance directly to the endusers, and not be beholden to the various bottlenecks in between. Google for BGPlay and you can get an overview over how many hops between various peering providers and ISPs some routes take. Will elaborate further later or tomorrow if there's interest.

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    Default Re: Interplanetary Internet

    I find it by far most likely that the colony will keep an updated mirror of really important resources (wikipedia, research and scientific sources, maybe cultural works), but will otherwise not really care all that much about daily earth news. It isn't like the news of the day is going to affect anyone on Mars. For that matter, Earth will probably care a lot more about what happens on Mars than Mars will care what happens on Earth.
    As Mars begins to develop its own culture, dialects, and social customs, the two will probably more or less separate, with minimal mirroring.

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    Default Re: Interplanetary Internet

    I think you'll get a local planetary net and what's functionally a piece by piece updated semi-interactive wayback machine. You'd be able to post to/request latest versions of stuff with something similar to an email. Then the archive version of the site would update a couple hours later and you'd get a notice that your content had been updated.
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    That makes sense to me. Depending on the relative time and costs.
    I'd expect that you'd have a large range of broadcast streams (and hence the single delay), a massive shared library (with a large update load), a tiny bit of personal traffic from lots of people (with the delays). Probably roughly in equilibrium, and with some clever exploitation of the boundaries between the two.

    But practically there's going to be incentive for things to be intra-planet for most of your day-day life.
    If there were another faster but more limited stream (holonet), or for Mars a slower cheaper stream, then you might see some other interesting effects.

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    I don't think mirroring the relevant internet would be that bad: most high-demand content is already stored on more than one server around the world, so you're just adding a Mars node. You can update that node a few times daily with limited bandwidth via radio, and ~monthly with unlimited bandwidth via the hard drives of cargo ships. Let's think about how that would affect various internet services:

    -general info/reference: content mirrored on Mars servers, updated monthly via cargo HD.
    -streaming media: content mirrored on Mars servers, library updated monthly via cargo HD. In most cases forward planning means titles can release on the same day in both places.
    -email: daily cross-planet send/receive, works normally
    -banking: Mars would need it's own banking system, with transfers between planets taking a day or so to go through.
    -ecommerce: if the product is being shipped from earth orders can be transmitted in the daily data dump, with catalog updates coming monthly via cargo HD. Amazon will open a warehouse on Mars for same-day delivery of popular products.
    -news: Mars-specific news gets daily updates via radio, archives of major news outlets arrive monthly via cargo HD.
    -forums: Forum software will be updated to allow daily dumps of Martian posts. Martians will get ninjaed a lot. Content will only be mirrored on Mars if a Martian user requests it, and will be updated monthly unless someone on Mars wants to pay for the bandwidth for more frequent updates.
    -social media: Mars will likely have its own internal social media for chatting and sharing photos/videos/memes, but posting to Earth social media will be possible with a day's delay, and those who want to pay for it can get daily dumps to their news feeds.

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    Default Re: Interplanetary Internet

    I think sending monthly rockets might be more expensive than building more transceivers
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    I think sending monthly rockets might be more expensive than building more transceivers
    For data alone, probably,* but a Mars colony likely wouldn't be self-sufficient at first so there ought to be supply (and probably also colonist) rockets inbound to Mars for a while and, practicalities aside, a lot of people tend to assume that with extraterrestrial colonies comes 'conventional' extraterrestrial trade. A few terrabytes of data shouldn't cost too much payload capacity, and if you're sending a rocket anyways...

    Also, I have doubts if the return on investment would be sufficient for a business, institution, or governmental entity to bother investing in a (relatively) high-bandwidth data link between Earth and Mars until after a Martian colony was very well established, especially because the demand for such a data link is likely to be very one-sided when the colony is young: Mars will want things that Earth has, but at least until it's fairly well developed it won't have much that Earth wants. There won't initially be enough people to make selling 'cheap' Earth-linked internet to the general public on Mars profitable, there probably won't be enough data coming out of Mars to interest a large enough number of people on Earth in footing the bill for such a link, there probably won't be sufficiently-wealthy businesses, institutions, or governmental entities on Mars willing and able to foot the bill for reasons of their own, and as Mars becomes more self-sufficient and its populace becomes more removed from Earth it'll probably become less interested in such a data link anyways.

    * Mind you, if there's a Mars colony then there could also be a Moon colony, and while a Moon colony is less likely to eventually become self-sufficient it also potentially offers a way to significantly cut the cost of sending a data rocket to Mars, especially if you can manufacture a significant portion of the rockets, fuel, and hard drives on the Moon and thus essentially ignore the whole "get off Earth's surface" part.
    Last edited by Aeson; 2020-07-05 at 01:01 AM.

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    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Interplanetary Internet

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    I think sending monthly rockets might be more expensive than building more transceivers
    I'm assuming the existence of something similar to a Mars cycler. You wouldn't even have to launch a new hard drive for each orbit: just leave a couple hard drives in orbit over Earth and over Mars, take your time uploading/downloading the data, and have the cycler vehicle shuttle the drives between Earth orbit and Mars orbit each time it passes.
    Last edited by Hyoi; 2020-07-05 at 11:29 AM.

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    Default Re: Interplanetary Internet

    I kind of figured this would be laser communications based. 6 minute time delay is a lot easier then any other form, and while it would take inventing a more robust laser communication language I imagine it is possible.
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    Default Re: Interplanetary Internet

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    I kind of figured this would be laser communications based. 6 minute time delay is a lot easier then any other form, and while it would take inventing a more robust laser communication language I imagine it is possible.
    What makes you think that laser would have a shorter delay than radio? Those waves move at the same speed.
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