Facebook Will Build Drones and Satellites to Beam Internet Around the World
Mark Zuckerberg is putting together a lab where a team of Facebook engineers will build flying drones, satellites, and infrared lasers capable of beaming internet connections to people down here on earth.
The Facebook Connectivity Lab. According to Zuckerberg, the lab’s engineering staff already spans “many of the world’s leading experts in aerospace and communications technology,” including researchers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, NASA’s Ames Research Center, and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory. And the company is now adding engineers from a British company called Ascenta, an outfit that helped create the world’s longest solar-powered unmanned aircraft.
All this may seem like a stretch for a social networking company. But it’s a necessary part of Zuckerberg’s efforts to bring the net to the vast parts of the world that still don’t have it — an effort known as Internet.org that makes an awful lot of sense for a company whose continued expansion depends on the continued expansion of the net. And though the general public may not realize it, Facebook has a long history with building new hardware that can advance its cause.