beowulf in space

Alan Grimes alangrimes at
Tue Apr 15 17:27:49 EDT 2003

To the best of my limited understanding of space applications the
problem biggest problem of computing in space is not the actual
computing but the communications. 

The biggest problem in sending 20 probes out into the universe is the
issue of _TRACKING_ those 20 probes. NASA has found that its Deep Space
Network is streached thin tracking all the probes it has sent up over
the years (in addition to its other astronomical duities)...

The solution is to design a version of the internet so that the varrious
probes can communicate among themselves reducing the workload of the DSN
to only a few targets (or eliminating the need for elaborate ground
tracking altogeather..) 

Some interesting projects could be: 

--- Establishing relay stations on the moon...
	There are no stable orbits around the moon so any communications relay
station would need to be ground based. Apparently there are certain
points where the varrious gravitational forces balance out called
"lagrange points". One would place relay satelites at these locations
and then build comms towers on the ground to relay local trafic up to
the satelites. This is trickey work because there would need to be a
direct line of sight from your mission to the nearest comm tower and
from there to one of the stationary satelites... The technologies for
this have already been developed... The big challenge is, ofcourse,
establishing this network for operations on the so called dark side of
the moon...

-- Establishing relays to distant planets: 
	We would like to have networks going to Venus, Mars, and Jupiter...
This would require at least one satelite around each of the remote
planets and one in orbit around earth. A satelite in high orbit would
have a clear line of sight to its target planet for 22+ hours a day and
would only require a single ground station each. 

Such a network would drasticly reduce the maintainance costs of all
future missions... =) 

Having never read a manual, it takes less effort to hack something
togeather with than it does with C++ and five books.
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