Category Archives: NASA

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Blockchain Technology Will Accelerate Space Exploration

Blockchain technology will accelerate space exploration by making the supply chains which produce the components for space missions more efficient. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is embracing blockchain technology, which will eventually result in the shortening and strengthening of space exploration supply chains.

Space exploration is extremely expensive, with NASA alone spending approximately USD 1.32 trillion when adjusted for inflation since its inception in 1958. And this is only the money that NASA spends on space exploration, not including the expenditures of the European Space Agency, Russia, China, or private corporations like Space-X, which also have major space programs. So far, mankind has only managed to get to the Moon, the closest celestial body by far. Costs will go up dramatically for interplanetary and interstellar exploration.

The reason space exploration is so expensive is that it requires many complex pieces of technology to make a mission successful, such as spacesuits, rockets, laboratories and spacecraft. These complex pieces of technology require materials from all over the planet during the manufacturing process, and this is where blockchain would be extremely useful.

With a blockchain-based ledger, materials for space exploration can be tracked in a transparent and immutable ledger. Even the most powerful computers in the world can’t hack a blockchain ledger, so this ledger would produce trust between manufacturers, distributors, and clients. The blockchain-based ledger would reveal inefficiencies in the space exploration supply chain, allowing NASA and other organizations to cut out unnecessary middlemen, shortening the time needed to produce space technology in addition to saving money. Also, any fraud in the supply chain would be obvious and easily traceable, and therefore could be eliminated.

A single missing component can stall the launch of a space mission, costing it dearly if the mission misses its launch window and has to wait for long periods for the next window – a possibility for interplanetary missions. If every component is tracked in a blockchain ledger, it would help ensure every component is in place so missions can launch on schedule.

 

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NASA Looks to Utilize Ethereum Blockchain Technology

The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is funding and co-running a research project that utilizes Ethereum blockchain smart contracts in safeguarding deep space travel.

The project focuses specifically on implementing the technology in improving space communications, ensuring navigations that take place are safer and more efficient. Should the research developments be successful, NASA plans to employ the results on deep space probes that potentially could be automated to avoid rubble in space.

Currently, such spacecraft rely on communications from scientists on Earth to relay crucial information regarding obstacles in space, as opposed to the cognitive structure proposed by this research project. Those behind the project propose that Ethereum-based smart contracts have the potential to independently track space debris, preventing significant damage to the spacecraft.

The project has been dubbed the ‘Resilient Networking and Computer Paradigm’, lead by the assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Akron (UA), Dr Jin Wei Kocsis. A three-year USD 330,000 grant has been secured by Dr Kocsis to fund the project.

The UA released an announcement citing Dr Kocsis on the project, who said, ”The Ethereum blockchain technology will be exploited to develop a decentralized, secure, and cognitive networking and computing infrastructure for deep space exploration. The blockchain consensus protocols will be further explored to improve the resilience of the infrastructure.”

Dr Kocsis also spoke about her hopes that a finalized version of the technology could automize the collection of data simultaneously with other tasks, such as providing spacial intelligence for the spacecraft. This has the potential to save both time and money, as fewer scientists would required to operate these automated functions.

Adding to her statement, Dr Kocsis said, “I hope to develop technology that can recognize environmental threats and avoid them, as well as complete a number of tasks automatically.”

As of yet, no information has been released stating whether it is the public or private Ethereum blockchain used for the research project. Regardless, this proposes an exciting venture for blockchain technology, as well as that for space communications and travel. As NASA’s advanced communications program manager at the Glenn Research Center put it, this could lead to ”next-generation space networks”.

 

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