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NASA Could Use Smart Contracts to Automate Deep Space Probes


NASA has announced a new funded research project, called the Resilient Networking and Computing Paradigm. The $330,000 grant will allow a team of researchers, headed by Dr. Jin Wei Kocsis, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Akron, to try to develop an automated system for spacecrafts. The technology will use the smart contracts system courtesy of the Ethereum blockchain. Kocsis was interviewed by the University of Akron, saying:

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. I hope to develop technology that can recognize environmental threats and avoid them, as well as complete a number of tasks automatically.

The idea behind automation isn’t just efficiency, though. The main goal, according to Kocsis, is to enhance the safety in place to protect these valuable spacecrafts. She believes that technology can be developed that will automate the detection and avoidance of space debris that could otherwise critically damage the crafts, and she is intending to achieve this goal over the three-year period of the grant.

Currently, there are no further details to work on, but as blockchain technology continues to disrupt global industries one by one, supporters of the decentralized technology will no doubt be thrilled to see it take its first step into the space age. Indeed, NASA themselves expect that blockchain will prove useful in future projects in space. Thomas Kacpura, Advanced Communications Program Manager at Glenn Research Center, said that the success of this project would go a long way to securing more funding.

It is expected that the potential is high to contribute to the next generation space networks… also allow tech transition of these algorithms for commercial systems.

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