Blockchain Technology Could Help Further Space Exploration

Did you know that big players are looking into blockchain technology to help further space exploration?

From NASA to the European Space Agency (ESA) many vital agencies are examining ways to use blockchain for upcoming missions. So far, the results of these studies suggest that the technology could be helpful both on the ground and in space.

This is good news for Asgardia, the first ever space nation, who not only has their own blockchain-based cryptocurrency called Solar, but has the long-term goal of setting up habitable platforms in low-Earth orbit.

Last year, NASA allocated a $330,000 grant that backed the development of an autonomous, blockchain-based spacecraft system, which marked its first move toward the use of blockchain. Known as the Resilient Networking and Computing Paradigm (RNCP), the new system depends on blockchain and requires no human intervention.  

Dr. Jin Wei Kocsis, the grant’s recipient and an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Akron explained that the RNCP will study the application of Ethereum-based blockchain smart contracts in developing a secure computing system that would be applicable for challenging space conditions.

The RNCP system will exploit smart contracts to build a spacecraft that would automatically and quickly identify and dodge any obstacles seeing that in deep space, traditional means of communication become less dependable because the signal gets weaker.

Dr. Kocsis hopes that using this blockchain solution, spacecraft will be able to complete more tasks, offer more data and provide scientists more time for information analysis because they would not have to spend time on looking out for potential environmental threats.

The European Space Agency (ESA) has also been investigating the use of blockchain. However, they are more likely to use the technology to streamline internal administrative processes, and not as keen to use it in deep space per se.

Last September, the ESA presented a report titled “Distributed Ledger Technology: Leveraging Blockchain for ESA’s Success.” This report detailed the general pros and cons of blockchain with particular examples, such as it saves Dubai 25.1 million hours of productivity. It also looks at the potential benefits suitable for the ESA specifically — mainly the use of smart contracts in logistics, swifter and precise payments, real-time access to data changes, seamless updates to access rights and an immutable voting system, among others.

Big name space agencies aren’t the only ones hoping to democratize the cosmos further. Smaller startups are also getting in on the action. For example, according to their white paper released early in 2018, Space Decentral is a Singapore-based startup and a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO).

Their startup is based on the idea that, while space pioneers such like the U.S. and Russia are still crucial to space exploration, the cosmos is becoming more democratized, and now there are more chances available for private players — this is basically the same argument that is the backbone of the Space 4.0 concept mentioned above.

Although, Space Decentral’s plan is a little vague, it promises to empower hundreds of thousands of new actors to be a part of a global space agency not only as financial supporters, but also as integral contributors of knowledge, regardless of nationality, by offering the means to crowdfund and crowdsource a variety of space-related projects that could not feasibly be sponsored via older models. Since an ICO makes, the overall process easier Space Decentral has announced plans to issue a utility token called the Faster Than Light Coin (FTL Coin).

The startup also recently announced their first decentralized space program known as Coral, which is headed by four former NASA employees. Its primary objective is to facilitate 3D printing on the lunar surface to build infrastructure for settlers.

Another example of a startup in this realm is SpaceChain. SpaceChain is less focused on space exploration and looks more into using the existing infrastructure to enhance the blockchain experience. Essentially, SpaceChain is building the world’s first open-source satellite network that runs on blockchain nodes.

Backed by former Bitcoin developer and CEO of Bloq Jeff Garzik and one of the most prominent crypto investors Tim Draper, SpaceChain launched their first low-orbit CubeSat this past February. In doing so, the startup hopes to establish a fully decentralized network that, backed by SpaceChain’s open-source operating system, aims to become a blockchain sandbox for other developers.

If you’re interested in the many uses of blockchain technology, as well as scientific and technological advancements related to space then join Asgardia now and connect with forward-looking people.

When preparing news, materials from the following publications were used:



Image Credit: spainter_vfx / Shutterstock


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