How Amazon Web Services Helps NASA’s Curiosity Rover Share Mars With The World

Matt Weinberger | Devops Angle | August 11, 2012

NASA is a big fan of the cloud – in fact, the OpenStack open source cloud computing platform got its start there. So when NASA needed image processing infrastructure for the incredible pictures coming from Mars to Earth by way of the just-landed Curiosity rover and its mission to search for life on Mars, it’s not very surprising that the team turned to Amazon Web Services.

The initial challenge was a relatively straightfoward use-case. NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) had to make sure that there was enough going on under its hood to handle “hundreds of gigabits/second of traffic for hundreds of thousands of concurrent viewers” watching the almost-live video feed of Curiosity’s landing on Mars, according to the official AWS case study. NASA sysadmins were able to achieve this with “novel use” of Amazon Route 53 and Elastic Load Balancers (ELB) shunting traffic across regions...