NASA grants $300, 000 to the development of new future spacecraft that will utilize the same technology powering Bitcoin. Using blockchain, this spacecraft will be capable of making a decision even without human involvement. For instance, the spacecraft may be able to take actions such as dodging space debris from the moon or a distant planet much quicker.

Jin Wei Kocsis heads the investigation of the development of the autonomous spacecraft. An assistant professor from the electrical and computer engineering department of the University of Akron in Ohio, Kocsis hopes she can develop a technology capable of recognizing environmental threats as well as avoid them. At the same time, she hopes to make the tasks needed to perform in a spacecraft done automatically. 

Kocsis said of feeling excited and honored of NASA’s recognition of her work. This technology she is working continues to challenge the ability of a technology to think and act on its own. If she can prove what she sets out to do, her work would be incredibly useful in the deep space. Currently, when people on Earth need to communicate to a spacecraft in deep space, they have to wait for hours before a response is made.

But Kocsis’ work can remedy this, enabling spacecraft to do tasks simply by using the same technology that powers Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. A spacecraft will be able to perform through blockchain technology. This technology is used in the digital-currency world for a secure recording of a transaction even without a central management database. There are many different digital currencies available today but Bitcoin is the most popular.

The new work in development uses the same technology incorporated in Ethereum, another digital currency that is also popular today. Ethereum’s technology does not only hold records of transactions. At the same time, it can implement a decentralized code. For instance, it can run a transaction automatically as long as certain conditions are met. 

NASA gave Kocsis the Early Career Faculty grant, which will utilize Ethereum blockchain technology for self-executing contracts or “smart contracts” as they were called. These contracts will enhance a spacecraft’s digital decision-making. The project will take advantage of Ethereum blockchain technology to create a secure, decentralized, and cognitive computing and networking infrastructure to be used for deep space exploration. 

The project might take years to complete and take flight and the University of Akron did not comment on that. However, this project is not the first time for blockchain technology to be explored for use in space navigation and communication. There were times before but many are hopeful that this project could lead to future growth.