“TO THEMOON!” HAS BECOME A POPULAR PHRASE FOR THOSE WITH A KEEN INTEREST INTHE CRYPTOCURRENCY SPACE. BUT WITH BITCOIN AND OTHER CRYPTOS SETTLINGIN AT RELATIVELY EARTHLY VALUES AFTER A CRAZY RUN TO END 2017, IT MAY BE ADECIDEDLY DIFFERENT APPLICATION OF BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY THAT “MOONS” FIRST.

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In recent months the potential for using blockchain technology to drive a number of applications in outer space has begun to pick up steam. Both private and government-funded research is taking a look at how decentralized systems may improve everything from communications to data analysis when it comes to the great beyond.  

There are several startups that have issued ICOs to fund the development of satellite networks to beam the blockchain around the globe. At a base level, initiatives being driven by companies like Nexus, SpaceChain, and Block stream are seeking to bypass the internet to provide direct access via satellite to the blockchain for the purposes of carrying out transactions,storing data, app development, or facilitating secure communications. These projects are literally aiming to make decentralization other worldly.

NASA is dipping its toes in the blockchain waters through a grant provided to the University of Akron. The team at Akron is tasked with identifying ways to improve data collection and communication in space. Using the Ethereum network,the team is leveraging the decentralized nature of blockchain with AI and deep learning technologies to reduce the amount of time it takes for remote exploration devices to communicate findings and for those findings to be analyzed.

But that’s not all NASA is hoping to glean from the relationshipwith the researchers at Akron. They are also looking at a blockchain-basedtracking system for space debris to protect United States assets in space.

GOOD FOR THE GROUNDED

In the EU, the European Space Agency is looking at blockchaintechnology to help with the efficiency of operations on the ground. Theagencies sees benefits in the use of smart contracts in logistics, paymentapplications, and the immutable nature of the blockchain when it comes to datastorage, voting and more.

NEW TO THE GAME

There are also a handful of organizations that are new to the space game altogether and looking at blockchain technology to help explore the outer reaches of space alongside sovereign states like the United States and Russia. Among these ambitious explorers is Space Decentral, who according to its whitepaper, is“…a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) whose operational protocolutilizes the blockchain to reinvigorate the push for space exploration with the public in control. Space Decentral will design space missions collaboratively,share research for peer review, crowd source citizen science efforts, and crowd fund projects that lack national budgets.”

TIME WILL TELL

As we are still at the dawn of the blockchain age, it will taketime to sift out the real players from the pretenders. But one thing is clear,the potential for blockchain technology to change the way we operate in spaceis truly out of this world.

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