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Taming a Universe of Data

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What to do with Big Data, really Big Data? Don’t worry. NASA is on the case.

From the people who brought us smoke detectors, laser eye surgery and the DustBuster®, NASA engineers are hard at work developing new tools, techniques and automated programs for storing, indexing, accessing and processing data. Lots of it.

Data from all of its concurrent missions stream back to NASA at a rate of hundreds of terabytes per hour, according a recent article; it would take 50,000 trees to make enough paper to print one terabyte’s worth of data.

Aside from gaining a better understanding of our place on Earth and beyond, there is no end to how this data can be used, from predicting weather to locating other life-sustaining worlds. Making this data useful falls to NASA’s Solar System Visualization Project at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It’s their job to create the images, mosaics, maps and movies that astronomers and scientists use to find patterns and verify theories.

NASA is only one of tens of thousands of data geysers. Governments, businesses and organizations of all stripes are struggling with the same issue: how to store, analyze and retrieve burgeoning amounts of data for useful purposes. If 90 percent of all data on Earth was created in the last two years, then challenge is indeed astronomical.

Cloud computing and cloud data storage will play key roles in tackling these challenges. If for no other reason than helping tame data, the cloud’s place in our world (and beyond) is forever guaranteed.

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