Introduction and scientific data

” Curiosity Hey, be a friend and move north to 10 meters to look at this big red rock, will I “

If the revelation that engineers Jet introductory article Laboratory of NASA (JPL) use Alexa to control its Mars rovers were not enough, consider this? – her last mission carried out entirely using the cloud. With the adoption of the AWS eight years ago, scientists have data at JPL and NASA was on their own journey into the unknown, a pioneering exploration of cloud computing in all new ways.

Curiosity's daring landing on Mars in 2012 saw 175TB of photos and video streamed back to Earth

curiosity and a cloud

for two live rovers, capabilities and curiosity, NASA uses the cloud for critical controls. Operations Rovers controlled by applications that sit on a cloud, download reports on yesterday’s movements downloads maneuvers on the next day .

“One of the most common myths is that the rovers are controlled by joysticks,” says Khawaja Shams, senior manager of software development on ARM, but until recently, a software engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Shams was to bring a discussion titled “Fostering innovation in the cloud: NASA / JPL and Beyond” in the AWS-invent 2015 in Las Vegas.

“That would be super good, but as Earth and Mars are about 100 million miles apart, it takes seven to 20 minutes to allow the rover instructions … if you said to go ahead and waited for confirmation, the rover may already be in a ditch somewhere, “he says. The rover operates semi-autonomously, with scientists, sending commands to the cloud applications using.

The low cost of the mission

use JPL, clouds also about saving money. “Landing on Mars (with interest) in 100 times less than nine years before the AWS using, “says Tom Soderstrom, IT Director of Technology’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, about the 2012 mission, which continues to this day.” We rushed to 175TB, 80,000 requests per second, it was amazing performance, “he adds.” You have all seen the pictures at the same time we did. “

Victoria Crater on Mars – the Opportunity rover is a tiny black dot bottom-left

Instant Image

How Cloud JPL It works just as simple as it streamlined. “Pictures from the rover to go to in the orbit, back to the Deep Space Network, the data center JPL,” explains Shams. “The data comes from JPL-S3 (” simple storage service, it is processed EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud, AWS AWS) ‘resizable cloud hosting services) and within a few seconds of data coming to Earth it gets processed, stored on S3 formats JPEG and available for all to consume almost instantly. “

This applies even to the separation of stereo images taken by Curiosity (3D pictures help operators provide accurate navigation instructions for the rover) and automatic stitching together individual one megapixel images to create an extensive five-gigapixel panorama; it is all automated, and it should be.

“We often have less than four hours to respond to the information we have just received, so it is important that we make these panoramas, as quickly as possible, “he said Shams how images help operators Rovers make hasty decisions, he added that all up to the elastic reserves and workflow orchestration that cloud now enables.

The Mars Images app for iOS gets photos direct from JPL's cloud almost as soon as they are received on Earth

Science These experiments

thank you

to the internal image search service – indexed within DynamoDB – JPL scientists can now search and image request more freely, but even that was open to developers. API request can be made that build on top of a database, and can be drawn into third-party applications for reuse. Examples include MSL Explorer, pictures and images of the Mars application for IOS, which delivers the latest images from NASA’s Mars rovers through a survey that is internal archive search images.

“You can see the image at the moment when they hit the Earth from Mars,” said Shams. “It is about building platforms and thriving ecosystem that allow other applications to create, this time we have ceased to work for them.”

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infrastructure and sharing cloud data

Expanding cloud infrastructure

If NASA’s first cloud its use for image processing and exchange, so extending it to all sorts of other data. First, did the heat coming off Telemetry Mars rovers, which was until recently shared by both e-mail and PowerPoints within JPL, a shared and dynamic.

“We took it from static letters and put it on the Internet with Elastic Compute power behind it to provide not only a snapshot, but a calm site, where you could find a few hundred sols [Martian day] worth of data “said Rob Witoff, AN The exercise of ex-JPL and currently director Coinable.

The next trick is to cross-reference it with pictures of exactly where the rover was then read each of the heat. “In just 30 minutes we were able to integrate these tools together, so that when you click on any data point, it will use a different API and pull that image, to help engineers communicate with multiple sets of data,” adds Witoff.

Now every set of data JPL already be instantly connected. “It is a modern cloud infrastructure that can elastically scale and reuse from mission to mission,” says Witoff. “We no longer have to start from scratch for each mission.”

The SWOT satellite will push 100TB of data onto the cloud each day

Elastic Cloud

Two Earth-orbiting NASA satellites – SWOT- (surface waters of the ocean topography) and Nisar (ISRO NASA Synthetic Aperture Radar) – about the possibility to test NASA’s cloud storage to the maximum. How to search and a map of water and natural disasters, respectively, and generate 100Gbps of traffic per second, so 100 TB per day. During their lives, the amount of data they produce 1,000 petabytes each.

“How do you get it out of the space in the data center?” asks Soderstrom, adding that his team is struggling with it right now. “We believe that the cloud is the only way, so that all of a sudden cloud computing becomes critical, both storage and network.”

sharing of data, algorithms and software

use JPL, the cloud also allows scientists around the world to collaborate more easily, without having to physically load and store terabytes of data. “One of the most profound effects of cloud travel is that it allowed us to jointly find a large amount of scientific data, a virtually limitless amount of computing power that can be produced on request,” said Shams. JPL is now also using the cloud to share among scientists Preconfigured software bundled with sample data sets.

NASA's mission to Europa will be one of its first 'cloud native' projects

NASA’s Future cloud

JPL goal is “cloud native” mission, which begins and ends completely in the cloud. The first such mission – as planned in the 2020s – are Europe (NASA’s flagship mission that will search for signs of life) and ARM mission (proof-of-concept of the ambitious project to redirect an asteroid).

“Eight years ago, we knew that if we could start the mission in the cloud, we’ll be there,” says Soderstrom. “Now we can re-position the weekend that used to take several months,” he says to increase capacity for these cloud-only missions. “The future of the company is going to use the cloud,” says Soderstrom. “We’re not going to talk about more than data centers.”

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