JPL Used Bright Cluster Manager for 2020 Mars Mission

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Perseverance – NASA’s Mars rover

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab used Bright Computing’s Cluster Manager to help manage the lab’s HPC cluster environment to produce trajectory correction calculations and entry, descent and landing calculations for the spacecraft that last year carried the Mars rover, called Perseverance, and the small robotic helicopter, Ingenuity.

Spacecraft telemetry data was plugged into models and used to monitor where the spacecraft was located in reference to their trajectory flight path model, according to NASA. This data was used to determine trajectory correction maneuvers, or course corrections, so that the spacecraft would maintain an ideal flight path on its way to Mars. During the months-long flight time, JPL’s environment was responsible for supporting trajectory correction and entry descent and landing calculations that proved critical to the mission’s success.

The cluster was deployed in late 2019 and became operational in January of last year. This mission is part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the planet that will address high-priority science goals while addressing astrobiology questions about potential life on Mars.

JPL utilizes the clustered environment for a variety of workloads, including basic science research, COVID-19-related biology research, and high-end engineering research (mechanical engineering, electronics engineering, radiative transfer calculations, radiation analysis, etc.).

Bright said its Cluster Manager enables JPL to control its HPC resources as a single entity even as resources span two separate locations. “With Bright Cluster Manager, JPL leverages a flexible platform that enables users to deploy complete clusters over bare metal and manage them reliably from edge-to-core-to-cloud,” the company said.” Bright Cluster Manager … enables our customers to seamlessly leverage the latest in HPC technology, reduce demand on existing personnel resources, increase workload efficiency, and manage resource diversity across all domains of their science and engineering users.”

“In choosing Bright Cluster Manager to underpin their cluster infrastructure, JPL can deploy, manage, and monitor their clusters quickly and efficiently, and keep them running reliably throughout their usable lifecycles,” said Dan Kuczkowski, Sr. Vice President of Sales at Bright Computing. “We are thrilled to be working with JPL, and we are excited to support their continued research of the past life on Mars and future space exploration.”

JPL said it will be involved in nearly 30 missions over the next decade supported by the current environment.