The UCT Group employs user-centered design processes to create technology based on user needs. The group’s research focus is to develop component-based computing technologies, the goal being ubiquitous collaborative computing where the complexity for the users is that of their tasks, not of their tools.
Mission Control Technologies (MCT)
NASA Ames, in collaboration with Johnson Space Center (JSC), has built a set of frameworks to enable mission operations software systems to be assembled from flexible collections of user-composable components. Components may be assembled and modified by users, with the level of composability and permissions controlled by policies. By assembling systems from components on a common framework, the traditional “walls” of monolithic applications are eliminated, as are the heterogeneous code bases and functional overlaps that come with traditional software applications. User composition empowers users to make rapid changes to software, within the constraints of organizational policy, without the need for code changes from platform service providers. In turn, platform service providers have the capability to provide certified, yet flexible systems.
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Planetary Data System (PDS)
The PDS is a distributed archive of data products from NASA planetary missions. PDS actively manages the archive to maximize its usefulness, and it has become a basic resource for scientists around the world. PDS is composed of eight teams, called “nodes.” Five of these are science discipline nodes, focusing on Atmospheres, Geosciences, Planetary Plasma Interactions, Rings, and Small Bodies. The remaining three nodes provide systems engineering, navigation and ephemeris information, and image processing support. PDS is sponsored by NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD). All PDS-produced products are peer-reviewed, well-documented, and easily accessible via a system of online catalogs that are organized by planetary disciplines.
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Planetary Data Search
The PDS Image Search Site was developed in collaboration with Google. This site provides the capability to search selected PDS image data sets by searching or browsing feature names from a simple, Google-like search experience. Users can start by entering a feature name in the search box, or by browsing and clicking on a feature name. Once a feature is selected, users can refine their search using metadata attributes such as mission and instrument. The simple search/browse and refine interface provides a powerful interface for both novice and professional users. Once a data set is retrieved, a link is provided to view results in Google Earth. A direct link is provided to the PDS Image Search Site from Google Earth.
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Mars Exploration Rover Human Centered Computing
Technologies and procedures to increase productivity of surface operations for Mars Exploration Rover missions based on human-centered computing techniques.
A large touchscreen-based interactive work surface designed to help the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) planning and mission control teams capture, view, and share information during mission planning and surface operations. The basic functionality of each MERBoard includes a whiteboard, a web browser, ubiquitous data space for people and groups, remote access and control, and broadcast capability.
User Interface for JPL Multi-mission Accountability Service
A graphical user interface for JPL's multimission accountability service. That user interface makes it easy for accountability analysts and other users to track the status of a requested data product through its entire life--from the sequencing of the commands necessary to gather the data, through the uplink of those commands to the spacecraft, the execution of those commands, the downlinking of the data, and the subsequent processing of the data to produce the eventual data product.