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Senior Project - Destiny M&M

 

Distributed Lunar Image Analysis System

Senior Project: 2004-2005
Patrick Clary, Micah Dowty, Jason Patterson, Christine Predaina and Douglas Wendel
Boulder, CO
Space Systems
Denver, CO

With NASA's new directive to focus on Mars and Moon exploration, it has become imperative to analyze the countless gigabytes of information previously gathered about these two celestial bodies. There exist hundreds of thousands of photos taken of both the Moon and Mars that have yet to be analyzed. NASA has an active outreach program aimed at involving the general public in space sciences in an effort to instill excitement about their programs. The challenge was to develop a publicly accessible web site where these images can be analyzed by anyone interested in space, geology, online games and puzzles, or perhaps just for adventure and amusement.

Similar to the SETI@HOME project where thousands of home computers are used for their processing power, this project provides a website to harness the "brain power" of thousands of public users. By enlisting a large pool of public users to view the images in the data set, large numbers of images can be processed without requiring the time and resources of the professional scientific community. By combining the individual analysis results, the system is able to determine which images contain features of interest.

The project was implemented as a three-tier web application. The bottom tier is a database engine, currently being hosted on a MySQL database server. The middle tier is managed by a C#/.NET layer running on the Mono application server. The top tier is presented as HTML and CSS to the end user via a supported web browser. By utilizing this architecture, the system is both flexible and modular, allowing entities within each tier to be changed without drastically affecting the connective layers. The system was designed to be easily extensible to support analysis of images in a wide variety of disciplines.

 
See also:
Department of Computer Science
College of Engineering and Applied Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
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