The purpose of this workshop is to study how to reduce risk in future missions, accelerate science discovery, and enable a new class of high-data-rate, deep space science missions by taking advantage of high-performance spaceflight computing and data storage. We imagine a paradigm shift that resembles the concentration of computing resources into "clouds" (both centralized and distributed) – yet in deep space – and so we name such an arrangement after the deep space clouds, Nebulae.
We are motivated by the fact that downlink limits have severely constrained the types of science instruments we fly and made those missions riskier due eventual instrument failure. For example: The CRISM instrument experienced a failure after a short period of operation around Mars. Could on-site storage have allowed us to collect all the images we would want to downlink before its failure? Could this paradigm extend and scale to enable missions like “Landsat for Titan”?
This workshop seeks to Identify new science missions enabled by a Nebula; to quantify benefit to traditional, existing, and planned science missions; and to identify candidate mission architectures, interfaces, data standards, and demonstration milestones for follow on technology development.