MARS could soon be buzzing with its own internet. Nasa, the American space agency, wants to girdle the silent red planet with powerful satellites to help astronauts communicate with each other and with Earth. Starting next year the agency aims to launch a series of spacecraft that will form the building blocks of the new system. If Nasa succeeds in establishing a network of manned bases on Mars – perhaps as early as 2014 – the inhabitants should be able to send and receive e-mails. Plans are due to be announced in the next few months.