While the buzz on Earth is over Web 2.0 and the Semantic Web, the U.S. Department of Defense is eyeing the skies, where it plans to place a special router.
Currently, the project's goal is to provide better troop communications. Eventually, the DOD will use the new technology to transmit voice and video, as well as data.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see this could be the first step to a space-based Internet. Already, many are comparing this project's significance to the DOD's ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), which preceded and paved the way for the Internet.
Of course, Cisco is involved, and you can read how the technology differs from the current system of bouncing signals from Earth to satellite and back.
The IRIS (Internet Router Protocol in Space) project is now fully funded and expected to launch in late 2008 or early 2009. The special router will be placed aboard a geostationary satellite, according to the BBC.
It seems Iris will provide the backbone for a space Internet. Couple this with recent news about NASA's work on a new protocol that would support enable faster transmissions in space and it seems space exploration could soon enter a new era.