Famous NASA photos will soon be placed online

NASA’s images from the Apollo moon landings, the Voyager planetary flybys and the many space shuttle missions will be accessible through a central, searchable Web site under a partnership between the space agency and the nonprofit Internet Archive.

The archive will spend millions of dollars to consolidate images that are already in digital form and to convert those that are not.

“The big payoff on this will be getting the terrific materials that are basically in the space centers up and available on the Internet,” said Brewster Kahle, the archive’s founder and digital librarian. “They are still images, different forms of film and video tapes over the years. The idea is to get it all online.”

Well, not all. Kahle said the archive won’t be able to digitize everything NASA has ever produced but will try to capture the images of broadest interest to historians, scholars, students, filmmakers and space enthusiasts.

Kahle said the images already in digital form represent the minority of NASA’s collections, and they are scattered among some 3,000 Web sites operated by the space agency. He said those sites would continue to exist; the archive would keep copies on its own servers to provide a single, free site to augment the NASA sites.

Japan plans to start research on new networking technology that could one day replace the Internet amid its growing quality and security problems, according to the nation’s communications ministry.

U.S. and European researchers already have started similar efforts to rebuild the underlying architecture of the Internet.

Yoshihiro Onishi, assistant director at the Japanese communications ministry, said Japan must follow suit to stay competitive. Post-Internet network technology is expected to become imperative by 2020, he said.

“The Internet is reaching its limit,” he said. “We feel this research for the technology is definitely needed.”

When researchers largely knew one another, the Internet’s early architects kept the shared network open and flexible qualities that proved key to its rapid growth. But that later allowed spammers and hackers to roam freely.

The network’s designers also assumed that computers would be in fixed locations and always connected, creating headaches as laptops and other mobile devices proliferated.

Many scientists are starting to believe a totally new network is needed. It could run parallel with the Internet or eventually replace it, or parts of the research could go into a major overhaul of the existing architecture.

The number of domain name registrations worldwide reached 138 million midway through 2007, a 31 percent increase from a year earlier, according to the company that operates much of the Internet’s core address directories.

Although the “.com” suffix continues to be the most popular, with about 55 million registrations, VeriSign Inc. said country-code domains such as “.fr” for France are strong. There were more than 51 million country-code registrations collectively, a 36 percent hike from mid-2006.

Germany’s “.de” is the leading country code and the second-most popular suffix overall, followed by “.net” in third place. The United Kingdom’s “.uk,” China’s “.cn” and “.org” are among the other leading suffixes.

VeriSign runs the databases listing all “.com” and “.net” names as well as the master directory, or root server, that lists all the Internet’s suffixes, meaning all traffic touches the company’s computers at one point or another. Domain names are key for helping computers find Web sites and route e-mail messages.

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