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Mon Oct 7, 2019, 01:45 PM

An Algorithm May Be the 1st Thing to See Europa Clipper's Coolest Discoveries from Jupiter Moon

By Meghan Bartels 7 hours ago

Spacecraft are great explorers, but they can be frustrating pen pals.

The farther from home a probe ventures, the longer its dispatches take to reach eager humans on Earth and the terser such reports must be. That's why computer scientists and planetary scientists are teaming up to develop an algorithm that could potentially identify the most intriguing data an icy moon explorer mission collects, sending those tidbits to receivers first.

"We're in this golden age of space exploration, and we have hundreds and hundreds of gigabytes of data flooding back from across the solar system," Ashley Davies, a planetary scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, told Space.com. "It's not possible to return all the data that you ever collect."

Hence the interest in an algorithm to negotiate what to report first. A team based at JPL is developing a potential system to do just that for individual instruments on NASA's Europa Clipper mission.


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