NASA stores lunar orbiter data in the cloud

Scientists will have immediate access to data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter via a cloud-based storage system, the agency has announced.

LRO has successfully entered into a yearlong orbit around the moon, during which it will transmit lunar imagery, topography, temperature readings and spectral wavelengths, and provide an understanding of the effect of lunar radiation on humans. The spacecraft is expected to return more data about the moon than any previous mission.

That data will be transmitted via satellite to a project team at Arizona State University for systematic processing. It will subsequently be replicated to secondary high-performance storage in a separate building at ASU and then on to the Nirvanix Storage Delivery Network via CloudNAS, the company’s software-based gateway to its off-site data storage site. Cloud storage uses virtualized resources by saving data at a third-party site.

Launched in conjunction with LRO, NASA’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite will search for water ice on the moon in preparation for future lunar exploration, particularly to aid in the design of a lunar outpost for extended stays on the moon. Scientists will collect the data from seven scientific instruments onboard.

All LRO data and products developed from that data will be publicly accessible through NASA’s Planetary Data System.

About the Authors

Kathleen Hickey is a freelance writer for GCN.

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