Like a lot of people, over the last week I’ve been captivated by the technical marvel that is the touchdown of the Mars Rover Curiosity on the Red planet this week. The whole thing, from the crazy descent through the atmosphere to the frankly jaw dropping sky crane that stabilised everything before giving the rover the gentlest of landings, is one the finest days that NASA has ever had. Its captured the public’s imagination to such an extent that there appears to be a drive to start a kickstarter funding campaign of all things.
I, of course, have been devouring every image that has come back so far – from the dusty image of a wheel to the first panoramic pictures (have you guessed I’m a bit of space geek by now?).
Curiosity has now deployed its main antenna – and we’re going to start getting full resolution pictures back from the planet. Some of which are 2MB a shot.
However, to my eternal disappointment it is most unlikely we’re going to come across any martians on this trip. However, I think I might have finally discovered why we never will..
Digging through the tech specs on Curiosity, I came across an interesting fact. The rover has a 40Mb data upload link back to Earth. This is just an incredible thing – we can link two planets together for high speed data movement.
If we can do this, then why on Earth (pun intended) can we not do this here? Global average Internet upload speed is just getting to the 2Mbps mark. Broadband suppliers shout about download speed all the time, but quietly keep our upload speeds down to under 10% of their download capabilities. As we all exchange more data, this bottleneck is only going to become ever more detrimental to anyone doing business electronically – and I’d argue, the economic growth of entire countries.
As we all start to put more of our data in the cloud this is holding back an entire generation of new companies. Thankfully, things are improving – remember – Virgin Media are trialling 1.5Gbps home broadband with a 150Mbps upload speed right now. So there is some hope. But for many people, it can’t come soon enough.
Obviously here at Aframe this is something we care passionately about. We’ve recently launched our revolutionary upload system that maximises every drop of bandwidth you have (using technology that is remarkably similar to what Curiosity is using to manage the latency in its data link to Earth, one of our Senior Engineers has pointed out. Sadly, he wouldn’t let me go as far as to put “Aframe uses space technology to move your media” on the front page of our website). This does however make us up to 15x faster to upload a video than Dropbox or Yousendit – and you don’t need to download it again to watch it.
However, this will still be limited by the speed of connection you have (you can test that here).
We at Aframe love a challenge, and we have something in the works that’s going to help you overcome this hindrance when you need to work with someone on your video quickly. Watch this space..
So – why won’t we find any Martians? Wherever they are hiding, they certainly won’t come out now. They’ve been busy watching every single episode of the Wire and Lost on Netflix, while uploading a millennia of home videos to Aframe. Sadly, as company policy is that we never look at our clients data, we won’t be able to share them with you…