AWS Public Sector Blog

NASA’s Data is in the Amazon Cloud, Is Yours?

For years, people have been dreaming about going to Mars. Now NASA has made the Red Planet a top priority. While the space agency works on developing the rockets and technologies that would take astronauts further than they have ever traveled before, The Washington Post has created a virtual reality experience to take you there today. Please join us on the journey, which was created using actual imagery from NASA’s rovers. The Post experience is underwritten by AWS and Intel, and features content about our work with NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

Experience the virtual reality here.

NASA is the foremost space research organization in the world, helping shape our view of the world, space, and the possibilities in between. How did NASA use the cloud to meet its mission in space and on Earth?

  • In Space: NASA inspired a new generation of space explorers and citizens by giving them front row seats to space exploration with the live streamed images of the Curiosity’s landing on Mars. NASA JPL serviced hundreds of gigabits/second of traffic from viewers around the world. Once on Mars, the Curiosity Operations Team used the AWS Cloud to scale out and process all incoming data in a matter of minutes. They were able to spend time making scientific progress, without waiting for data processing.
  • In the Atmosphere: When NASA faced the challenge of reprocessing petabyte-scale data from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 (OCO-2), they anticipated a 100-day wait and a $200,000 bill using their on-premises data center. With AWS, NASA was able to do the same thing in less than six days for just $7,000.  The project helped NASA engineers obtain new insights from their data through the use of new algorithms that adjusted instruments on the satellite, helping them receive richer data on the Earth’s carbon uptake.
  • On Earth: NASA continues to leverage the AWS Cloud to study the effects of climate change. Teaming up with Cycle Computing and AWS, NASA is measuring vegetation change in the Sahara at lightning speed. In only six hours, NASA scientists were able to process one third of the data – in a carbon neutral region– for only $80.

Go ahead and explore Mars in the virtual reality experience created by The Washington Post here, and don’t miss out on the “How NASA’s Mars Rover and Earth Analytics Use the Cloud” webinar on April 11th. Register today.

AWS Public Sector Blog Team

AWS Public Sector Blog Team

The Amazon Web Services (AWS) Public Sector Blog team writes for the government, education, and nonprofit sector around the globe. Learn more about AWS for the public sector by visiting our website (, or following us on Twitter (@AWS_gov, @AWS_edu, and @AWS_Nonprofits).