The need for faster broadband is not only felt here on Earth, but NASA has found that its current 6Mbps connection with Mars is just too slow, and has been trialling laser-powered 100Mbps broadband.

NASA has given the green light to a trial for the laser-based communications system which will dramatically speed up the time taken for data to be sent back to Earth from Mars and further afield.

Using the current technology a single high-resolution image takes 90 minutes to be beamed back to Earth from Mars. The new laser-broadband will see this time cut to just five minutes.

Head of the project, Dave Israel, said: "Just as the home internet user hit the wall with dial-up, NASA is approaching the limit of what its existing communications network can handle."

Just as Earth-bound internet users had to buy a new modem to upgrade to broadband, NASA will have to send a payload of telescopes, lasers, mirrors, detectors, tracking systems and two modems to be attached to a commercial satellite. One modem will be for communication with Earth, while the other will network with deep space missions.

Signals can then be sent to the satellite from the ground, which will then be relayed back to Earth at two ground stations located in Southern California and Hawaiil; using two locations means that if one is affects one stations, the other can be used as a backup.

The trial is expected to run for two to three years.