At the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, Cointelegraph ambassador and editor-at-large Kristina Lucrezia Cornèr spoke with Filecoin Foundation president and chair Marta Belcher about the organization’s efforts to demonstrate the use of decentralized technologies in space communications.
Last year in Davos, we announced the first mission to deploy @IPFS in space. ️
This year in Davos, we’ll share an exciting update on our progress.
: https://t.co/YybOwoQrxj pic.twitter.com/VyLFQV95xa
— Filecoin Foundation (@FilFoundation) January 12, 2024
On Jan. 16, the Filecoin Foundation announced it had completed a demonstration that sent files from Earth to outer space and back through an InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) implementation for space communications. According to Belcher, the demonstration follows nearly three years of collaboration with aerospace company Lockheed Martin, which finally bore fruit when the project demonstrated the usefulness of decentralized systems in space. Belcher explained:
“From the beginning, it was actually envisioned as a technology that could enable long-distance networking, like in space. That’s why it was called the InterPlanetary File System. We finally have realized this original vision.”
Following this, Belcher argued that decentralized systems are more efficient in space communications. While centralized systems do not show issues on Earth, Belcher explained that there are delays when in space. “There’s actually a multisecond delay if you’re on the moon or a multiminute delay if you’re on Mars.”
The delay is because every time someone needs to take a file, they would have to go “all the way from Earth, all the way back to space.” Belcher said that this model doesn’t work for space. However, with a decentralized system, Belcher explained that instead of looking for files based on where they are, the protocol uses a content identification system, allowing file access from the nearest satellite.
“If someone nearby, like an orbiting satellite or if you’re on the moon, and if there’s anywhere that the file exists that’s closer, it’ll pull it from wherever it’s closest,” Belcher added.
Related: Bitcoin to the moon: Spaceship carries physical BTC wallet on mission
Apart from efficiency, Belcher also explained that the IPFS allows for data verifiability. It cryptographically verifies whether the data sent has not been tampered with. According to the executive, this is useful when it comes to verifying the authenticity of satellite images. Belcher said:
“The data gets a content ID, and that means if it’s tampered with, the content ID will change, which means you can actually cryptographically verify that data is the satellite image you took.”
In addition, the executive also pointed out some issues with centralized architecture when facing radiation and space debris. Belcher explained that storing files in space is challenging because factors like radiation could corrupt the files. With a decentralized protocol, Belcher believes this wouldn’t be a problem as the files will be pulled from anywhere. “You can have lots of copies. And if one file gets corrupted, it doesn’t matter.”
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