Lead: As the tiny signals from Sputnik warned of the Soviet Union's growing scientific and military power in 1950s, defense officials in the U.S. raced to protect their ability to communicate. The Internet was born.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The Soviet achievement, with its parallel space race and missile gap, gave the scientific research and development work of the Defense Department an alarming urgency. While colleges increased their math and science requirements, the military services created a department devoted to high-tech experiments, the Advanced Research Projects Agency, or ARPA. It was obvious that to meet the growing Soviet threat, the work of computers had to be made available to units on or close to the battlefield of the future. This was clearly impossible. In the days before the microchip, computers were huge, mainframe devices filled with bulky vacuum tubes and then transistors. Therefore they had to figure a way for portable terminals to communicate with main computers hundreds or thousands of miles away. Existing telephone lines were too unstable. Vital voice or data messages could be interrupted by accident or wartime destruction. The new system had to be virtually indestructible.

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