NASA taps Amazon Web Services for rover video infrastructure

Summary:NASA tapped Amazon Web Services to provide the back-end tools to build a live video streaming infrastructure for the Mars rover launch.

There are a lot of tech giants that had a hand in getting NASA's Curiosity rover to Mars, and Amazon Web Services is one of them.

See also: New rover Curiosity arrives on Mars (photos)

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. used AWS to stream the images and video associated with Curiosity’s landing. Within a few weeks, the JPL unit designed, built and deployed the live video streaming solutions  hosted on AWS, using a combination of AWS’s compute, database, storage, routing and content delivery services.

In nitty-gritty terms, the live video streaming architecture was developed on a combination of Adobe Flash Media Server, the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Elastic Load Balancing, Amazon Route 53 for DNS management, and Amazon CloudFront for content delivery. AWS CloudFormation was responsible for the deployment of live video streaming infrastructure stacks across multiple AWS Availability Zones and regions.

Amazon asserts that the cloud enabled the JPL team to provision capacity more rapidly while leveraging the AWS cloud to deliver successfully engaging experiences of Mars to the public while meeting global demand during the launch time frame.

NASA will continue to use AWS to automate the analysis of images coming back from Mars. Amazon asserts that this means NASA scientists can send a longer sequence of commands to Curiosity that increases the amount of exploration that the Mars Science Laboratory can perform on any given Martian day.

Earlier this week, Dell revealed that the landing sequence was formulated by two NASA High Performance Computing (HPC) clusters running on its PowerEdge servers.

Furthermore, the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex in Australia also played a key communications role in Curiosity's rapid descent to the landing zone in the Gale Crater.

For a closer look at JPL's live video streaming infrastructure running on AWS, check out the diagram below:

zdnet-aws-nasa-jpl-curiosity

Image via Amazon Web Services

Topics: Amazon, Nasa / Space

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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