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NASA Achieves Data Goals For Mars Rover With Open Source Software

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the open-curiosity dept.

Cloud 35

caseyb89 writes "Open source projects Nginx, Railo CMS, and GlusterFS are powering Mars Curiosity's big data crunching. 'Taken together, the combination of cloud and open source enabled the Curiosity mission to provide beautiful images in real time, not months delayed; at high quality, not "good enough" quality. A traditional, proprietary approach would not have been this successful, given the short time to deployment and shifting requirements that necessitated the ultimate in agility and flexibility.'"

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This is all about the PR end of the system (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#41732253)

This has nothing to do with processing the data from the rover (which comes in at rates a dial-up modem could handle). It's about the web hosting system that lets casual visitors look at the pretty pictures.

NASA could just upload the stills to Flickr and the videos to Youtube and save some money.

Re:This is all about the PR end of the system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41732327)

Kinda fits around here anymore. It's all about chest pounding and screaming "rah rah rah!" and it has nothing to do with the actual technology.

Re:This is all about the PR end of the system (4, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | about 2 years ago | (#41732433)

It's about the web hosting system that lets casual visitors look at the pretty pictures

Functions which are important to the project.

Re:This is all about the PR end of the system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41732905)

Exactly, like it or not pretty pictures are what funds this project.

Re:This is all about the PR end of the system (4, Interesting)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 2 years ago | (#41732911)

This has nothing to do with processing the data from the rover (which comes in at rates a dial-up modem could handle). It's about the web hosting system that lets casual visitors look at the pretty pictures.

NASA could just upload the stills to Flickr and the videos to Youtube and save some money.

That is not quite true. The images that are seen are actually a mosaic of many images. The individual images are served up as a composite on demand from the servers. It is unlikely that NASA would have the time and resources to convert all of them so they could be displayed on Flickr and Youtube.

Re:This is all about the PR end of the system (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 years ago | (#41733699)

How do they have the resources to do it on demand, multiple times, to serve it across the web... but not to do it once and upload them to Flickr?

Re:This is all about the PR end of the system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41733867)

I'd guess that's because many of the possible images don't get looked at. Converting all would therefore be a bigger job than converting on-demand. Also, that they do it on-demand doesn't mean they're doing it multiple times. They could cache converted images.

Re:This is all about the PR end of the system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41733845)

How much faster would they have achieved the same goals with proprietary software? Likely, much faster.

Re:This is all about the PR end of the system (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#41733721)

NASA could just upload the stills to Flickr and the videos to Youtube and save some money.

Great idea; I mean, what could possibly go wrong? [vice.com]

Cloud pirates (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41734265)

Entities like E. W. Scripps Company have specialized in cloud-piracy. What they do is launch fraudulent DCMA claims and they either take down videos, or they strap ads on them to make money. So, they can monetize off other peoples work. What Scrips do is to take video from UStream that has no copyright on it, then they run it through Youtube content ID system and claim ownership over it. They are not the only ones who use this attack. Basically, they are getting ad-revenue off things that they have no valid copyright on. But, copyright legislation and control are based on the assumption that everything is copyrighted, and don't take into account that parts of the video might be creative commons or public domain. So, some of it's faulty algorithms, the rest is just companies claiming ownership over things they didn't make.

falseDMCA takedown blocked Curiosity lander stream (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about 2 years ago | (#41743061)

Yeah, but look at what's happened in the past when NASA has used an external hosting system and the bonkers automated copyright enforcement bots:

The copyright bots have tagged the NASA streams+videos (and possibly the NASA stills also, though I don't recall hearing about that happening) as being the copyright infringers even though NASA was the original producer of the content, the Scripps news service (which copied the NASA stream) was able to initiate and conclude an automated takedown of the NASA stream by claiming copyright infringement.

.

The Algorithmic Copyright Cops: Streaming Video's Robotic Overlords [slashdot.org]

Similar inaccurate DMCA takedown notices have occurred in the past. Thus, the wisdom of hosting your own videos means that you are not the mercy/whim of idiots like Google and Flickr who willingly accept bot declarations of copyright infringement and takedown non-infringing original content submitted by the original creators of that content.

And a perfect example, (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41732281)

...of precisely where open-source should be applied; NASA. I like to imagine such endeavors are not self-serving, but public, and for anyone with the will and ability, to either contribute, admire, or simply understand.

Re:And a perfect example, (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | about 2 years ago | (#41733243)

I agree. Any software designed or modified using public funds should be freely redistributed for any use by the public. No GPL, BSD.

Shared technologies (-1)

konman2k4 (2540278) | about 2 years ago | (#41732303)

Most of my servers run ClusterF**kSystem here too.....I could have told NASA it wasn't all that great.

Late-Breaking News from the Council: INFILTRATION! (3, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | about 2 years ago | (#41732483)

Ongoing intelligence reports from the blue world reveals that our programme of infiltration continues unnoticed.

K'Breel, speaker for the Council, spake thus.

"Integrating our semantic maps into the minds of the blueworlders has been a difficult task, but already their vocalization sequences have been reprogrammed to vocalize words unpronounceable in their language, but which are perfectly curlmenot in our fair tongue - words like like 'Nginx', 'Railocms', and 'Glusterfs.'"

When an agile young developer, fresh from a tour of duty infiltrating the blueworlders' breeding factories, suggested that a traditional, proprietary approach would not have been this successful, given the short time to deployment and shifting requirements that necessitated the ultimate in agility and flexibility, K'Breel recognized that the threat was bidirectional. (To defend against the threat, the Speaker, being in a particularly mercurial framework of mind, had the developer 's nodes gimped: the silly git's gelsacs were thrown into a blender, and the extracted fluid was disposed of by means of a waterfall.)

Re:Late-Breaking News from the Council: INFILTRATI (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 2 years ago | (#41732505)

All hail the Mighty K'Breel!

Coming soon to Slashdot . . . (4, Funny)

greenreaper (205818) | about 2 years ago | (#41732511)

"EFF files injunction against NASA for AGPL violations in Mars Rover firmware"

Re:Coming soon to Slashdot . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741693)

As long as NASA doesn't distribute the product to others, it doesn't matter. :p But humor enjoyed

Oh so that is why it's so cheap to do! (2)

BetaDays (2355424) | about 2 years ago | (#41732709)

Oh so that is why it's so cheap to do!

Actually I wish they got more funding so they could do a lot more.

AWS Seems like winner here (5, Insightful)

devforhire (2658537) | about 2 years ago | (#41732803)

AWS seems like the real key to the success here, not the use of open source software. While I think it's great that NASA took the open source route, I've read nothing to defend the position that this would not have been successful with non-open source software:

"A traditional, proprietary approach would not have been this successful, given the short time to deployment and shifting requirements that necessitated the ultimate in agility and flexibility."

Even the article praises AWS more than the open source software mentioned, it's main source of content appears to come from the linked article [devopsangle.com] with information about the open source pieces of the stack added.

Re:AWS Seems like winner here (1)

johanwanderer (1078391) | about 2 years ago | (#41733577)

On the same day with the outages?

AWS not so sucessfull? (1)

dgharmon (2564621) | about 2 years ago | (#41735179)

'AWS [slashdot.org] seems like the real key to the success here, not the use of open source software'

Not so sucessfull, as compared to that socialist software written in someones bedroom ...

What is even more amazing... (2)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 2 years ago | (#41732841)

What is even more amazing that the Curiosity Rover is that somehow Microsoft wasn't selected for a government project.

Re:What is even more amazing... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41732983)

This is NASA. You can get killed for choosing Microsoft (no, seriously)

Re:What is even more amazing... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41733267)

How do you think it came to be known as the Blue Screen of Death?

Railo -- not a CMS? (2)

FairAndUnbalanced (959108) | about 2 years ago | (#41733301)

I believe that Railo is a scripting language, not a CMS: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railo [wikipedia.org]

Re:Railo -- not a CMS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41736245)

This is true. Railo is a scripting and tag based Language that is running on the JVM. And it was wrongly labelled as CMS... Railo is open source and free under the LGPL license. More information can be found: www.getrailo.com

Re:Railo -- not a CMS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41803615)

Let's not forget Railo also just happens to be an (awesome) CFML engine. What, I thought ColdFusion was dead???? Think again!

Symbolic irony (1)

bolthole (122186) | about 2 years ago | (#41733399)

The irony in the article, is that the link for "high quality, not 'good enough' quality", leads to a page where the first image has around 20% of the data, missing/blacked out.

First time I've seen a definition of "high quality" that means "20% data loss"

Re:Symbolic irony (1)

Altanar (56809) | about 2 years ago | (#41736045)

First time I've seen a definition of "high quality" that means "20% data loss"

The data isn't lost or blacked out. It's unprocessed. NASA releases images that are fully complete later on, and releases partial images immediately. Also, for an interplanetary mission to receive images as quickly as we are and even in various states of process is frankly amazing.

this FP for GNNAp. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41733797)

noisEs out of` the

Open Source and Mars Rover (2)

dgharmon (2564621) | about 2 years ago | (#41735081)

"Nginx (pronounced engine-x) is a free, open source, high-performance HTTP server and reverse proxy .. Railo is an open source content management system (CMS) .. GlusterFS is an open source, distributed file system", link [opensource.com]

Re:Open Source and Mars Rover (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41803659)

Yeah, except for the fact that Railo isn't a CMS at all. It's a fast web scripting engine that runs on the JVM-- ColdFusion's young, hip cousin. getrailo.org.

The comments before last ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41735111)

Most of the previous comments are why CmdrTaco walked away from slashdot. A total waste of electricity.

GlusterFS (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about 2 years ago | (#41736711)

GlusterFS is the most interesting piece of software here. It features elastic distributed and replicated storage, with full POSIX semantics (including locks), and no single point of failure (SPOF). An interesting point: it is coded in C, without nasty external dependencies (I mean that is no java bloatware)

This is very nice, but one question remains: that kind of software will give us cheap massive storage. How will be backup the data?

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