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WTFH: NASA Uses BitTorrent

Sections: Computers, Downloads, Features, Miscellaneous, Web, WTFH

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By popular demand, we’ve decided to push ‘What the Future Holds‘ forward in the week. Instead of being posted on Sunday, it will be posted on Thursday. ‘WTFH’ is a column about the future of technology. Adam Berger contributes ‘WTFH’ to Gadgetell every week.

NASAIt seems that even the government uses BitTorrent. NASA currently has a program that lets users to download images from the agencies large catalog of satellite photography. Immediately NASA realized that they are facing a bandwidth dilemma, as many files are extremely high-resolution; hosting files upwards of 3 GB. Now to distribute these massive files (over 100 MB) NASA is using BitTorrent.

BitTorrentThis is just one example of how you can take a technology, currently known for it’s illegal sharing capabilities and find legal uses for it. There have been talks that if an online music store would adopt BitTorrent, or another file sharing mechanism, they would have a very strong price advantage. This technology would cut out the need for huge bandwidth requirements and storage requirements. If you bought Eminem’s “Shake That” on iTunes and I want to buy the same song, BitTorrent would allow me to download the song from your and everyone else’s computer, and only pay iTunes.

Purposeful, legitimate uses of the technology are welcomed among P2P enthusiasts, mostly because “real world” applications such as this help to dispel the negative image of BitTorrent (nothing more than a tool employed by thieves and pirates).

This is a great technology that has lead to options no one could have ever anticipated. Professors can distribute files easier, universities can share data, the Library of Congress can open folders of documents, movie studios can distribute films… I hope that we will see this former illegal technology gain a stronghold in today’s legal e-environment.

Read [Monkey Bites]

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