So far, there hasn’t been much news regarding any involvement of NASA with blockchain technology, or digital currencies. However, things are about to change, as a research project that recently received funding from NASA, will be looking for ways to leverage Ethereum’s smart contracts, to help automate spacecraft manoeuvring and avoid space debris.
NASA, which is also co-running the research and development effort of the project, has mentioned that the development may revolutionize the search for deep space probes. To put things better into perspective, NASA is investing in a project that would use blockchain and smart contract technology to not only enhance space communications, but also to make navigation efforts safer and more efficient.
The project, which is entitled: ‘Resilient Networking and Computing Paradigm’ will be supervised by Dr. Jin Wei Kocsis, an assistant professor at the University of Akron, who is the recipient of a $330K grant from NASA. Members of the research program hope to develop a platform that will help spacecraft navigation, while no longer relying on information sent out by scientists stationed on Earth. This means that spacecraft will be able to guide-themselves when it comes down to both detecting and avoiding space debris.
In a recent press statement, Dr. Kocsis mentioned that: ‘In this project, 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.’
Not only this, but Dr. Kocsis also hopes that the decentralized architecture of the project will allow spacecraft to automate several other tasks, such as data gathering, calculations, flight path determination and more.
At this moment in time, there is little to no information available on how smart contracts will be leveraged to guide spacecraft, or whether the Ethereum blockchain being used will be public or private. However, the project is likely to lead to a ‘decentralized processing among NASA space network nodes, in a secured fashion’, according to a NASA official. This basically means a more responsive and resilient network for scientists, which is both scalable and capable of integrating today’s and the future’s technology.
Based on everything that has been outlined so far, what are your thoughts regarding NASA’s sudden interest in the Ethereum blockchain and smart contracts? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.