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NASA Expanding Edge Computing Capabilities on ISS

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NASA Expanding Edge Computing Capabilities on ISS

NASA is working to expand the edge computing capabilities of the International Space Station, according to a scientist from the agency.

Sarah Wallace, a microbiologist at the Johnson Space Center, said edge computing eliminates the need to transport large chunks of data for processing down to Earth, which she said NASA cannot afford in future Moon and Mars exploration missions, Nextgov reported Thursday.

“This is a huge paradigm shift that’s absolutely critical for us to be able to expand our exploration,” Wallace said during IBM’s Think Gov 2021 digital event.

IBM describes edge computing as an architecture that brings computation closer to the source of the data like internet of things devices or local edge servers.

The architecture offers business benefits such as faster insights, better response times and increased bandwidth availability, IBM added.

Edge computing would bring unique advantages to experiments carried out on the ISS.

Wallace said that in 2018, NASA installed a DNA sequencer on the ISS to help astronauts identify unknown microbes.

While the tool reduced astronauts’ exposure to “higher numbers of sometimes dangerous things,” the huge amount of data it generated still needed to be transmitted back to Earth.

IBM is currently working with NASA to support real-time DNA sequencing and data analysis on the ISS through a combination of satellite and edge computing capabilities.

In February, computing company Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced that it launched an edge computing system for the ISS.

HPE’s Spaceborne Computer-2 is a high-performance computing system designed to allow astronauts to rapidly process data and perform experiments.

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Category: Space

Tags: edge computing IBM International Space Station NASA Nextgov Sarah Wallace space