The spacecraft to be built in the future might use the same technology that powers cryptocurrencies called the Bitcoin. NASA is supporting the development of a $330,000 project that plans to build an autonomous spacecraft that will be able to do a large part of the decision making on its own, without the intervention of humans. One such example will be enabling a spacecraft to move away from the collision of space debris at a moon or distant planet faster than the instructions given by a human. It also reduces the human effort.
The principal investigator as well as a professor EC engineering from a University in Ohio, Jinn Wei Kocsis, stated that with the help of this latest idea the environmental threats can be automatically recognized by the spacecraft and hence can avoid them. Along with this, he expects that the spacecraft will be able to perform a number of other tasks on its own in a more efficient way.
If Wei Kocsis’s work is proven to be useful, it would help very much in the first stage of research in areas of deep-space environments, as in the current situation the spacecraft to Earth communication has delays of several hours. Her work would allow the spacecraft to perform tasks without any delay using the technology of blockchain.
In today’s world, Blockchain is a part of the cryptocurrencies and is used to record information or transactions securely without the need of a database for central management (for e.g. bank). There are a number of cryptocurrencies like the Ethereum, Dash etc. but Bitcoin is the most popular one. The new technology like that of Ethereum’s not only just records transactions but also executes some of the decentralized codes like identifying if the necessary conditions are met and automatically carrying out a transaction.
Wei Kocsis’s project will be using the blockchain technology of Ethereum to self-execute contracts, also known as “smart contracts”. The decision making of the spacecraft will be enhanced by the use of this technology. In this project, a secure, cognitive and decentralized computing and networking infrastructure will be developed for exploration into deep space by exploiting the blockchain technology of Ethereum.
The duration of Wei Kocsis’s technology to be actually made practical has not yet been announced. But this is the first time that NASA is exploring the blockchain technology for space-related applications. We can expect the future application of this technology to take space navigation and communications to a more advanced level.