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Indian-led Silicon Valley firms bring Mars to Earth

Two Indian-led Silicon Valley firms, eTouch and Speedera Networks, are key contractors in the project that has brought back spectacular Mars images – live –to millions of space-struck earthlings.

Founded by Mumbai IIT-ian Aniruddha Gadre, eTouch operates the NASA portal, www.nasa.gov, after winning a $ 6 million government contract last year. Speedera Networks, founded by IIT-Rourkee alumnus Ajit Gupta, enables the images to be disseminated worldwide with its network of contact points across the globe. Their performance has been outstanding, NASA officials say. In just six hours after the latest Mars landing, NASA’s homepage received 916 million hits, and users downloaded 154 million web pages. In comparison, the portal received 2.8 billion hits for all of 2003. Yet eTouch and Speedera stood up to the onslaught without breaking down in the face of what some are saying is the biggest Internet event in history.

“They have been absolutely wonderful,” NASA’s portal project manager and chief knowledge architect Jeanne Holm told TNN. “eTouch gives us the technology to publish the picture and make it beautiful and usable. Speedera provides the physical hardware to disseminate it globally.”