A Cloud-based Architecture for Processing 3D Mars Terrain


OnSight is a tool that allows scientists to work on Mars through the power of virtual reality. The Mars terrain displayed in OnSight is produced from real images sent back by the Curiosity rover, and rendered at 1:1 scale, as if the user were actually standing on Mars. Behind this exciting user experience is a powerful backend infrastructure that continually produces 3D terrain reconstructions as new images are sent back by the Curiosity rover.

The terrain build system automatically detects when new images are available, dynamically starts and stops computing instances to handle the workload, and presents dashboards to view the progress of terrain builds. The system runs on Amazon’s cloud services platform, using a mix of Linux and Windows virtual computing instances. The system leverages a variety of open source projects including NodeJS, LoopBack, Ansible, Jenkins, AngularJS, and BootStrap. In this talk will focus on the cloud computing aspects of the terrain system, rather than on image processing. I will present a detailed look at the parts of this system, and discuss the team’s experience adapting a desktop data processing workflow to a cloud architecture. Please join me for an applied look at how data processing challenges can be addressed in a cloud computing environment.


Ballroom A
Saturday, January 23, 2016 - 16:30 to 17:30