Nebulae: Deep-Space Computing Clouds - Part 2

April 13 - 17, 2020
California Institute of Technology - Pasadena, CA 91125


Workshop Overview:

The first workshop of the KISS study program  “Nebulae: Deep-Space Computing Clouds” was held August 26-30, 2019, at the Keck Institute for Space Studies on the Caltech campus. During the first workshop, the participants defined several high impact planetary and small-body mission concepts and high level capabilities enabled by in-situ computing resources orders of magnitude greater than the “minimum required” that is deployed today. A rough roadmap of technical development and investment priorities was defined, scaling from:

  • Smart instruments” which have enough storage and processing to accomplish mapping or population-level statistics without impacting the spacecraft;
  • Mission-level infrastructure that can conduct multi-sensor fusion, archive instrument data for future downlink, and assist with spacecraft navigation and operations;
    up to
  • Campaign-accelerating orbiters which are deployed to deep space targets with reserve capabilities to enable an efficient, data-driven discovery process with iterative objectives from mapping, global geodesy, population-level statistics, and onboard continuous change detection.

All these concepts depend on the spacecraft being “Nebula-enabled”, such that there is sufficient storage and computational capacity for large quantities of data to be gathered, pre-processed and selected for optimal downlink to make the most of the bits that the Deep Space Network (DSN) can support. Reserve or excess computational resources, provided by the Nebula, can be dedicated to processing that extra data on-site, augmenting by several orders of magnitude the amount of data immediately available for scientific inquiry.

The second workshop is scheduled for the week of April 13, 2020. This workshop will realize practical models for the broadly applicable Nebula concept. First, we will identify missing science cases from Astronomy/Astrophysics and Heliophysics with a focus on identifying commonalities with the planetary and small-body cases already developed in the previous workshop.  In addition, we will establish near-term earth and lunar applications or science opportunities along with technical design references. Upon completion of a technology gap analysis and a review of mission infusion paths and trades, we will determine the technical development roadmap to success, and define the next technical steps (e.g. case studies, technology demonstrations and other follow-on activities). This roadmap will also highlight a set of topics that, if accelerated with additional funding, could materially advance some of the schedule or improve the performance of a planned Nebulae instantiation.

Schedule Coming Soon...

List of Workshop Participants Coming Soon...

Lodging for out-of-town attendees

There are a number of hotels (2 pages pdf, 600KB) that are close to the Caltech campus where we have a negotiated rate. (Please note that this negotiated rate does not guarantee you the lowest rate as there may be internet specials or AAA rates that may be better.)

Please note that with enough notice, you can reserve rooms for attendees at the Athenaeum, which has been recognized as a Platinum Club of America. Newly refurbished, it is conveniently located on the Caltech Campus. Contact Janet Seid if you would like to check the availability of this option.

Visa Requirements

For Visa requirement information and travel to the United States please visit the website of the U.S. Department of State.

Parking (for Visitors and for JPL Personnel)

For Visitors: From the Arroyo Parkway, turn right (east) on Del Mar Avenue. Proceed approximately one and a quarter miles. The Caltech campus will be on your right. Turn right (south) onto Wilson Avenue. Turn right into the North Wilson Structure and park in an unmarked spot. Buy a parking permit from the kiosk located inside the North Wilson Structure or request one ahead of time from KISS.

For JPL Personnel: JPLers may use their JPL hang tag for parking or request a special parking hangtag from the JPL parking office. Employees who do not have on-Lab parking privileges can obtain a hang tag created for this purpose from JPL parking coordinator Robert Kennedy (818-354-4586, Building 310-108B, 9/80 schedule). Please park in an unmarked spot in the North Wilson Structure located on Wilson Avenue.

Maps and General Information on Pasadena

Directions and Maps