Filecoin Foundation and the American aerospace tech firm Lockheed Martin announced plans on Monday to design decentralized storage for the space industry.
The collaboration intends to build infrastructure to share information, hasten communication and reduce storage costs between earth and space.
The main tool for decentralized storage is the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS), a blockchain-based storage protocol that stores files based on content, using ‘content IDs,’ over location. On IPFS, multiple computers can store the same file so that if one computer were to go offline, another user can retrieve the file from another computer on the network. IPFS was developed by Protocol Labs, a firm that piloted the development of the Filecoin protocol which runs complementary to IPFS.
Therefore, these computers can be located somewhere besides earth to facilitate quicker extraterrestrial communication, such as with GPS coordination or environmental monitoring.
As Filecoin Foundation president Marta Belcher explained in a blog post:
“Today’s centralized Internet model doesn’t work in space. On today’s Internet, every time you click something, that data has to be retrieved from a centralized server; if you’re on the Moon, there will be a multi-second delay with every click, as content is retrieved from Earth.
Using IPFS, data does not need to go back and forth from Earth with every click; instead, when you put in an IPFS ‘content ID,’ that content is retrieved from wherever is closest, rather than being retrieved from a particular server in a particular place. That means if someone else nearby on the Moon has already retrieved that data, the data only has to travel a short distance and can get to you quickly instead of traveling back and forth from Earth with every click.”
Web3 projects commonly use IPFS to forgo centralized and limited storage systems from companies such as Google or Amazon. For instance, IPFS was how a Tezos-powered marketplace called Hic et Nunc (now Teia) managed to stay online after its founder unexpectedly abandoned the project.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Filecoin Foundation created IPFS. IPFS was created by Protocol Labs, an organization that piloted the growth of Filecoin.