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Big Data at NASA

Big Data at NASA

“Billions and billions…”

It is a term produced well-known by physicist Carl Sagan on his popular Cosmos TV show, as well as he was talking about the amount of stars in the universe of ours.

Though it might also very easily be put on to the bits of information NASA is actually collecting about this same universe.

It is a challenging task – and also with its dozens of hundreds and missions of scientists considered together, it could constitute probably the biggest big details project ever undertaken.

NASA’s big data by the numbers

So just how big is actually big Just a number of facts about the information NASA collects, shops, procedures, and analyses today:

  • NASA’s deep space spacecraft send data to Earth on the order of MB per second.
  • NASA’s near Earth spacecraft send data back on the order of GB per second.
  • Information is presently directed by radio frequency, and that is fairly slow, though plans are actually in position to apply optical (laser) interaction in the long term, which will improve the speed and amount of information 1000 fold.
  • NASA evaluated the laser process in 2013 as well as set a new data speed record, driving details in the moon to Earth from 622 megabits a next (Mbps).
  • Missions being planned today is going to generate and drive almost as 24TB of information every day – that is around 2.4 Libraries of Congress each day for an one-time mission.
  • Climate change data alone are projected to grow to nearly 350 Petabytes by 2030.
  • The NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS) Discover super computing cluster ranks among the top 100 supercomputers in the world and supports research for more than 500 NASA scientists and others around the world.
  • Discover uses much more compared to 35,000 processing cores to estimate somewhat more than 400 trillion businesses per second. “By comparability, it will have every individual on Earth including pairs of seven digit numbers at the speed of one per second for more than seventeen hrs to do what Discover could do in one second.”
  • The Square Kilo meter Array telescope, set to open in 2016, will generate 700 TB of data per second when it is operational.

So just how will it handle all of that information? Here are a few examples of what NASA is actually doing these days.

Managing and Processing

NASA uses a system called the Mission Data Processing and Control System (MPCS) to control and process information. It offers custom data visualizations which are used by way of the flight operations staff, as well as does it all in real time – a method which utilized to take a long time, if not days or weeks to achieve.


NASA has several storage centers for all this data, including the NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS), which focuses on weather and climate information. It presently houses thirty two petabytes of information, with a complete capacity of thirty seven petabytes. Additionally, it carries a one-of-a-kind 17-by-6-foot visualization wall structure, giving a single high resolution exterior for scientists to display information visualisations.

Archiving and Distribution

One example of how NASA processes and archives all this data is the Planetary Data System (PDS), focused entirely on planetary science. It archives as well as distributes all information at NASA planetary missions, astronomical observations, along with laboratory dimensions into a single site and also provides access to much more than hundred TB of room pictures, models, telemetry, and whatever else connected with planetary missions through the previous thirty years.

Commercial cloud computing services

For its cloud computing, NASA is actually by using commercial services the same as some other business. For the latest Mars Science Laboratory quest, NASA migrated its history content management program and sites to Amazon Web Services, that had to have the ability to provide over 150 Gigabits per minute of targeted traffic to a worldwide staff of operators, researchers, as well as the normal public. As the information came in, every picture from Mars was delivered, stored, processed, and uploaded from the cloud.

And all this is really the tip of the iceberg. Luckily, NASA understands the size and complexity of its probable future data needs and is already planning for a data-heavy future.

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