Vortex’s ‘out-of-this world’ performance enables mission to map the universe

PrismTech’s Vortex data connectivity platform powers LSST on its mission to survey the entire universe.

NASA’s discovery of an Earth-like planet 1,400 light-years away has been making headlines all around the world lately. The planet named Kepler-452b has characteristics that share Earth’s unique features that are essential to sustaining life- making it one of the biggest breakthroughs in today’s science of space exploration.

Thanks to the latest developments in modern telescopy; astronomers, researchers and scientists are now better positioned than ever to be able to search and find answers to the mysteries of the universe, including finding clues to the existence of life on other planets.

The next-generation of mega telescopes with huge mirrors and adaptive optics promise to advance the effort of exploring the world outside our planet Earth significantly.

The most exciting of these billion dollar telescope projects include:

The Thirty Meter Telescope (Hawaii) – This giant telescope will be the most advanced and capable ground-based optical, near-infrared observatory with a mirror size triple the diameter of any telescope in use today. This will enable scientists see farther and fainter objects clearer than ever before.

European Extremely Large Telescope (Chile) – Once completed, EELT will be the largest telescope on Earth with a mirror that stretches 39 meters across. It will generate images 13 times more light than today’s telescopes which will help find hints of exoplanets, dark energy and other mysteries within the universe.

Another one to join the world’s collection of giant telescopes is the Giant Magellan Telescope (Chile) which will house seven of today’s largest stiff monolith mirrors. Its unique design features will generate images that are 10 times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope.

James Webb Space Telescope – is the only space-based amongst the six mega telescope featured here. Surpassing the size of two other similar telescopes, this one triples the size of Hubble and Spitzer carrying a 6.5 meter mirror when fully unfolded. Its capacity will even produce longer wavelength and higher sensitivity compared to the Hubble.

Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope – Astrophysics Focused Telescope Assets (WFIRST-AFTA) – features a telescope with a 2.4-meter aperture and on-axis secondary mirror, which feeds two different instrument volumes containing the wide field and coronagraph instruments. It is expected to provide quality imaging of the skies over an area 100 times larger than Hubble.

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (Chile) – The LSST is the smallest in size amongst the six mega giant telescopes measuring 8.4 meter in diameter and weighs 6,000 pounds but it has extraordinary and advanced scope and speed. Using the world’s largest digital camera, taking 3.2 gigapixel images every 20 seconds to capture colourful, time-lapse videos of the sky – generating 30 terabytes of data each night, the LSST will create the first ever 3D map of the universe, showing more of the universe than humanity has seen looking through all of the previous telescopes combined.

“PrismTech is proud to be part of making history by helping create the first 3D map of the universe.”

Combining this enormous data-gathering machine is an equally-powerful data-sharing technology proudly provided by PrismTech. The award-winning data connectivity platform, Vortex was selected by the Association of Universities and Research in Astronomy (AURA) to support the demanding data management requirements of the LSST project. One of the major benefits of using Vortex is that LSST developed applications are not subjected to burden of data management tasks such as message interpretation and state management. To achieve amazing power the system needs, Vortex is key to providing reliable, scalable and time-critical data connectivity, enabling the data to be accessed by over 400 scientists and engineers worldwide in real-time.

Each of these new telescope facilities will be optimized for different areas of research to solve the deepest secrets of the universe such as understanding its evolution, solving the mysteries of the dark matter, finding other life and identifying other habitable planets.

With a surge in advancement in telescopy, the human race is moving closer to unlocking the mysteries of the universe. These are truly exciting times.

PrismTech’s Vortex Helps the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope to Analyze the Deepest Mysteries of the Universe

PrismTech’s Vortex Helps the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope to Analyze the Deepest Mysteries of the Universe

AURA selects the Vortex real-time data-sharing platform to efficiently process 30 terabytes of data every night

Boston, MA, USA – March 09, 2015 – PrismTech™, a global leader in software platforms for distributed systems, today announced that the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) has selected its Vortex™ data-sharing platform for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), a highly anticipated and revolutionary facility designed to create an unprecedented 3-D map of the universe and unveil the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy.

In the effort to deliver this extraordinary wide-field astronomical survey of the universe, the LSST will leverage innovative camera, telescope and data management technology.  Employing an 8.4-meter ground-based telescope with two aspherical optical surfaces on one substrate and simultaneous casting of the primary and tertiary mirrors, and the world’s largest, 3200-megapixels digital camera, it is anticipated that this 10-year survey of the universe will produce 30 terabytes of data every night.

Vortex functions as the data-sharing backbone to the LSST facility, serving to control, monitor and regulate the data interfaces and ensuring the right data gets to the right place in real-time.  Based on the Data Distribution Service (DDS) standard, Vortex provides LSST with a federated architecture that optimizes data accessibility and usability.

“We can’t overstate the impact and significance of Vortex and the DDS standard for the LSST effort,” said German Schumacher, Software Manager, AURA.  “It’s not just that DDS makes it easier and faster for this telemetric data to be shared, analyzed and acted upon throughout the system.  What Vortex provides the developers is the freedom to concentrate on the application not on the communication.  That is entirely taken care of for us with DDS.  Vortex was specifically chosen over other DDS implementations because of its superior shared memory architecture.”

Additional specific benefits of adopting Vortex:

  • It enables component decoupling allowing for more focused development and testing. Productivity is increased by as much as 16x
  • Without DDS the development team would have been 3 times larger
  • The shared memory architecture greatly simplified the system design

Vortex has been designed to optimally address the real-time information distribution and management challenges posed by high performance real-time systems.  Vortex sets new levels of performance, robustness, scalability, fault-tolerance and portability (platform support).

“It is certainly exciting to be able to play a crucial role in a fundamental research program of the breathtaking scope of the LSST,” said Steve Jennis, SVP Corporate Development, PrismTech.  “Vortex uniquely meets the extremely demanding requirements of the LSST in terms of performance, scalability, reliability and productivity.  As such, we are very proud of how Vortex is able to support and enable this amazing initiative.”

Supported through a public-private partnership featuring an immense collaboration of countries, companies and universities—including more than 400 scientists and engineers—LSST is funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and private funding raised by the non-profit LSST Corporation. AURA manages the LSST Project Office.  LSST has been identified as a national scientific priority in reports by diverse national panels, including several National Academy of Sciences and federal agency advisory committees.

For further information about Vortex please visit PrismTech’s website at: http://www.prismtech.com/vortex.