Internet Policies: May 2008 Archives

NASA Space Missions Fuel Massive Storage Projects, Byte and Switch

"Earlier this month, NASA revealed that it will deploy a 20,480-core Altix ICE supercomputer from SGI at its Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley this summer. Capable of 245 trillion operations per second (Teraflops), the supercomputer will support future NASA projects, chiefly manned missions to the moon and potentially to Mars."

NASA taking open source into space, CNet

"Open source is such a natural for government agencies, it should come as no surprise that NASA is now developing an open-source project called CosmosCode. The goal? "To provide a common access point for individuals, academics, companies, and space agencies around the world using, contributing to, or supporting re-usable, modular, extensible, or standards driven space exploration software."

Virtual Shana

NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale's Blog: California Outreach Effort

"I am excited about the future and I enjoy talking about what we are doing and where we are going with the Nation's space program. What resonates with the general public the most is the combination of the inspiration from our space exploration missions with the examples of how NASA-derived technologies are critical for life here on Earth.

After my keynote in San Jose, several individuals said my speech was "powerful" and that is such a compliment because now they "get" it and are re-energized in their interest in America's space program. As my staff says, the speeches I give are getting better. I am an introvert by nature and I have stepped way out of my comfort zone, but I feel it is extremely important to discuss the importance of NASA to the general public."

NASA employee suspended for blogging, FCW

"A NASA employee has been suspended for soliciting donations and writing politically partisan blog posts and sending e-mail messages while at work, violations of the Hatch Act."

Editor's note: I got a Twitter note an hour or so ago from "reference to nasawatch at the all-hands - how folks use that more than insidenasa." Interesting. I am curious to see how the new inside-the-firewall NASAsphere system works. Does anyone have a screen grab they can send me of NASAsphere that they can share? This is what InsideNASA looks like today.

Editor's update: this is a screen grab from NASAsphere. I have learned that this is not a permanent NASA feature - at least not yet. It is undergoing an evaluation period for the next month or so. At that point a decision will be made whether to go ahead - and what software platform to use.

NASA JPL Server Consolidation and Virtualization Assessment Request for Information

"JPL has an inventory of about 19,000 computers, ranging from Windows and Macintosh desktops, to 1,000 node compute clusters. Of these 19,000 computers, about 5,600 are computer servers performing a wide variety of computing tasks. The space requirements of this diverse server population are exceeding JPL's capacity, and plans to add many new computing capabilities over the next few years means that the Lab needs to consolidate its computing footprint both through hardware consolidation, as well as the use of virtualization tools."

[Video below]

Fixing NASA IT

NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale's Blog: Information Technology Update

"This week at the Operations Management Council (OMC) meeting, a significant portion was dedicated to the work we are doing to improve information technology (IT). In 2007, the Strategic Management Council, approved strategic initiatives to:

1) clarify the role of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) as stated in NPD 1000.3 and define core IT services that shall be provided by the CIO;

2) realign the NASA IT organization to reflect the role of the CIO and better connect with customers;

"Tuesday May 6, 2008 - 9:10 AM Central


If you get an e-mail with "WELLCOME TO THE NEW NASA WEBMAIL" in the subject line, DO NOT provide the information this e-mail is asking for. This is a bogus e-mail that needs to be deleted and ignored. We are working to block this e-mail from NOMAD customers."

Editor's note: Hmmm - this is from NOMAD after all. How do we know that this alert is not fake and that the original message is actually legit? Isn't NOMAD supposed to prevent this from happening in the first place - or did NOMAD cause it to happen? Yes I am being silly. I just can't shake the 40 year old mental image of the "NOMAD" robot from Star Trek and the voice that it used every time I read a NOMAD Update. Perhaps someone could forward the offending email text to me?

Hacking NASA

Hacking NASA: One small step for man, one giant leap for hackers?, ZD Net

"The CORE Security Team released an advisory to the Full-Disclosure mailing list today that documented a stack overflow in NASA's Common Data Format libs. Looking at this bug, the tech details aren't overwhelming, I think I'm mostly excited about it due to the high profile of hacking NASA libs. One can hardly fault NASA though, I mean, our government can't even get them enough money to do some real space exploration, it's hard to fault them for missing some security issues."

Common Data Format (CDF) Version 3.2 and earlier Buffer Overflow Vulnerability

"The libraries for the scientific data file format, Common Data Format (CDF) version 3.2 and earlier, have the potential for a buffer overflow vulnerability when reading specially-crafted (invalid) CDF files. If successful, this could trigger execution of arbitrary code within the context of the CDF-reading program that could be exploited to compromise a system, or otherwise crash the program. While it's unlikely that you would open CDFs from untrusted sources, we recommend everyone upgrade to the latest CDF libraries on their systems, including the IDL and Matlab plugins. Most worrisome is any service that enables the general public to submit CDF files for processing."



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