How Supercomputing Is Key to NASA Mission Success

November 23, 2022

Nov. 23, 2022 — Whether developing new technologies for landing on other planets, improving air travel here at home, or more realistically simulating global weather and climate, supercomputing is key to the success of NASA missions. These advances and more were on display in the agency’s hybrid exhibit during SC22, the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis:

This air flow visualization shows the vortex wake for NASA’s six-passenger tiltwing concept Advanced Air Mobility vehicle in cruise or “airplane-mode.” This image reveals the complexity of the flow for a tiltwing multi-rotor configuration, where many rotors interact with each other, the wing, and the fuselage. Credit: Patricia Ventura Diazfesta/NASA.

Designing Safe, Efficient Air Taxis

Using NASA’s powerful supercomputers, researchers are simulating the aerodynamic performance of several promising air taxi vehicle configurations that will someday carry passengers and cargo in urban and suburban areas. The highly complex simulations will be used to help design and develop these future air taxis—also called Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) vehicles—that will be safe, quiet, and efficient.

NASA plays an important role in the development of AAM by identifying key research areas and conceptualizing the design of AAM vehicles. Recent simulations focus on the performance of tiltwing and quiet single-main rotor AAM concept vehicles. Simulations were carried out on the supercomputers, such as Aitken, at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility at the agency’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, which allowed such complex simulations to be solved in just a few days. Understanding the complex flow structures in these rotary-wing aircraft is key to reaching AAM performance and noise-level goals.

Keeping Planetary Rovers Safe During Risky Landings

The entry, descent, and landing (EDL) sequence for NASA’s Mars landers has infamously been called the “seven minutes of terror,” because hundreds of critical events need to happen successfully—without intervention from Earth, due to the signal lag between the two planets. Roughly four minutes into descent, the spacecraft deploys a parachute that must inflate as evenly as possible, despite a wake of turbulent air, and without any rips or tears to the tightly woven fabric. This is one of the riskiest aspects of EDL and is notoriously challenging to predict.

Using the agency’s Aitken supercomputer, engineers at Ames are developing the capability to reduce risk and cost by simulating and analyzing many scenarios of supersonic parachute inflation, which would be too costly to study using flight tests. Another advantage to simulations is that fine-scale details can be extracted —that information can help engineers develop next-generation EDL systems able to handle the heavier payloads of future robotic Mars missions, like Mars Sample Return.

Credits: NASA/Joseph C. Ferguson, Stanford University; John Thornton, NASA/Ames.

Modeling Spacecraft Heat Shield Materials at the Microscale

X-ray microtomography to generate high-resolution 3D images of a material’s inner structure. PuMA, developed at Ames, provides unprecedented insights into materials used in heat shields for spacecraft, supersonic parachutes, and for meteorite analysis. NASA researchers use PuMA to develop new thermal protection system (TPS) materials for future space missions, and NASA’s high-performance supercomputers provide material scientists with the ability to run full-scale modeling on a material’s microstructure. This helps ensure the safety of future spacecraft, especially during the dangerous descent phase.

While this open-source software was originally created as a tool to predict material properties for TPS for spacecraft, PuMA has expanded to provide scientists the ability to combine material generation – from simple shapes to complex fibrous woven geometries – with studies of the material’s performance, such as its conductivity, elasticity, permeability, and even the way it oxidizes.

Predicting Weather and Climate to Keep Humans Safe

NASA is pushing the edge of modeling capability with the creation of a 1.5 kilometer (about 1 mile) resolution, global digital twin of Earth using supercomputers. The Global Modeling and Assimilation Office at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is using historical observational data to simulate the Earth system’s weather and climate. The NASA Global Earth Observing System (GEOS) model and assimilation system is the agency’s flagship system for enhancing the use of NASA’s extensive Earth observations.

With the vast expansion of machine learning capabilities and improved programming paradigms for super-fast graphics processing units, GEOS is now poised to provide an experimental framework within NASA for weather and climate studies. The GEOS model will have a range of capabilities including coupled ocean-atmosphere Earth system modeling, advanced studies of carbon emission, and transport at ultra-high resolutions.

Exploring the Past, Present, and Future of Planets Inside and Outside Our Solar System

Supercomputers are like computational “time machines,” and scientists use them to explore the past, present, and future universe. Using the NASA Center for Climate Simulation’s Discover supercomputer and the ROCKE-3D computer model, scientists from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York are simulating the climates of planets inside and outside our solar system. These simulations show that three billion years ago, Venus, Earth’s closest planetary neighbor, may have been temperate long enough to have an ocean – making Venus possibly the first habitable world in our solar system.

Farther from Earth, running ROCKE-3D with ocean characteristics more realistic than in previous models, scientists found that extrasolar world Proxima Centauri b is more habitable than previously believed.

Closer to home, simulations of the Moon reveal that water released by ancient volcanoes closer to the lunar equator can find its way to permanently shadowed polar regions, where we could potentially use it for future exploration.


Source: NASA’s Ames Research Center

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

TACC Supercomputing Powers Climate Modeling for Fisheries

January 28, 2023

A tremendous portion of the world depends on the output of the oceans’ major fisheries, which have, in recent decades, found themselves under near-constant threat from mismanagement (e.g. overfishing). Climate change, Read more…

PFAS Regulations, 3M Exit to Impact Two-Phase Cooling in HPC

January 27, 2023

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), known as “forever chemicals,” pose a number of health risks to humans, with more suspected but not yet confirmed – and, as a result, PFAS are coming under increasing regu Read more…

Sweden Plans Expansion for Nvidia-Powered Berzelius Supercomputer

January 26, 2023

The Atos-built, Nvidia SuperPod-based Berzelius supercomputer – housed in and operated by Sweden’s Linköping-based National Supercomputer Centre (NSC) – is already no slouch. But now, Nvidia and NSC have announced Read more…

Multiverse, Pasqal, and Crédit Agricole Tout Progress Using Quantum Computing in FS

January 26, 2023

Europe-based quantum computing pioneers Multiverse Computing and Pasqal, and global bank Crédit Agricole CIB today announced successful conclusion of a 1.5-year POC study “to evaluate the contribution of an algorithmi Read more…

Critics Don’t Want Politicians Deciding the Future of Semiconductors

January 26, 2023

The future of the semiconductor industry was partially being decided last week by a mix of politicians, policy hawks and chip industry executives jockeying for influence at the World Economic Forum. Intel CEO Pat Gels Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Shutterstock_1687123447

Numerix Scales HPC Workloads for Price and Risk Modeling Using AWS Batch

  • 180x improvement in analytics performance
  • Enhanced risk management
  • Decreased bottlenecks in analytics
  • Unlocked near-real-time analytics
  • Scaled financial analytics

Overview

Numerix, a financial technology company, needed to find a way to scale its high performance computing (HPC) solution as client portfolios ballooned in size. Read more…

Microsoft/NVIDIA Solution Channel

Shutterstock 1453953692

Microsoft and NVIDIA Experts Talk AI Infrastructure

As AI emerges as a crucial tool in so many sectors, it’s clear that the need for optimized AI infrastructure is growing. Going beyond just GPU-based clusters, cloud infrastructure that provides low-latency, high-bandwidth interconnects and high-performance storage can help organizations handle AI workloads more efficiently and produce faster results. Read more…

Riken Plans ‘Virtual Fugaku’ on AWS

January 26, 2023

The development of a national flagship supercomputer aimed at exascale computing continues to be a heated competition, especially in the United States, the European Union, China, and Japan. What is the value to be gained Read more…

PFAS Regulations, 3M Exit to Impact Two-Phase Cooling in HPC

January 27, 2023

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), known as “forever chemicals,” pose a number of health risks to humans, with more suspected but not yet confirmed Read more…

Critics Don’t Want Politicians Deciding the Future of Semiconductors

January 26, 2023

The future of the semiconductor industry was partially being decided last week by a mix of politicians, policy hawks and chip industry executives jockeying for Read more…

Riken Plans ‘Virtual Fugaku’ on AWS

January 26, 2023

The development of a national flagship supercomputer aimed at exascale computing continues to be a heated competition, especially in the United States, the Euro Read more…

Shutterstock 1134313550

Semiconductor Companies Create Building Block for Chiplet Design

January 24, 2023

Intel's CEO Pat Gelsinger last week made a grand proclamation that chips will be for the next few decades what oil and gas was to the world over the last 50 years. While that remains to be seen, two technology associations are joining hands to develop building blocks to stabilize the development of future chip designs. The goal of the standard is to set the stage for a thriving marketplace that fuels... Read more…

Royalty-free stock photo ID: 1572060865

Fujitsu Study Says Quantum Decryption Threat Still Distant

January 23, 2023

Global computer and chip manufacturer Fujitsu today reported that a new study performed on its 39-qubit quantum simulator suggests it will remain difficult for Read more…

At ORNL, Jeff Smith Becomes Interim Director, as Search for Permanent Lab Chief Continues

January 20, 2023

UT-Battelle, which manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) for the U.S. Department of Energy, has appointed Jeff Smith as interim director for the lab as t Read more…

Top HPC Players Creating New Security Architecture Amid Neglect

January 20, 2023

Security of high-performance computers is being neglected in the pursuit of horsepower, and there are concerns that the ignorance may be costly if safeguards ar Read more…

Ohio Supercomputer Center Debuts ‘Ascend’ GPU Cluster

January 19, 2023

Less than 10 months after it was announced, the Columbus-based Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) has debuted its Dell-built GPU cluster, “Ascend.” Designed to Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

SC22 Booth Videos

AMD @ SC22
Altair @ SC22
AWS @ SC22
Ayar Labs @ SC22
CoolIT @ SC22
Cornelis Networks @ SC22
DDN @ SC22
Dell Technologies @ SC22
HPE @ SC22
Intel @ SC22
Intelligent Light @ SC22
Lancium @ SC22
Lenovo @ SC22
Microsoft and NVIDIA @ SC22
One Stop Systems @ SC22
Penguin Solutions @ SC22
QCT @ SC22
Supermicro @ SC22
Tuxera @ SC22
Tyan Computer @ SC22
  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire