Designing Interplanetary Apps

What does the internet look like when we’re scattered across the solar system?


In October, 2018, I ran the first Interplanetary Communications Workshop at MozFest, the London-based Mozilla conference that convenes a diverse group of people ready to engage with and envision the future.

Featured in articles like “10 Things to Do at MozFest for Sci-Fi and Fantasy Fans”, and “Mozilla Is Throwing A Science Fiction Convention in London”, the workshop gathered a full room of people excited to talk about how we might design future messaging apps for speaking to our friends and colleagues on Mars and anywhere else in the solar system. While this sounds firmly within the realm of science-fiction, the tools we envisioned are grounded in a reality that is not that far away.

The central design constraint that we worked with is the long and varying time delays inherent in communicating across interplanetary space. It was an opportunity to think about how we define a conversation, and question the assumptions and affordances that we find in modern communication tools. Can we use this delay as a material in order to imagine how we will communicate in the future?

A full write-up of the outcomes and concepts people created can be found here: