Copyright © 2006 by Ned Chapin. Published by the Mars Society with permission.
Assuring Integrity and Security in Mars Data
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On Mars, as data are acquired or produced, their integrity and security will depend upon the actions that produce the data, and upon the ways the data are subsequently transmitted, handled, and stored. To make the best use of the mission personnelŐs time on Mars, the production of the data has to be fast, unobtrusive, and much of it automated. The transmission of the data has to depend upon the data themselves, and upon the means of their production, but be largely automatic. The handling of the data has to be kept to a minimum and assisted by reliable processes. The storage and retrieval of the data have to be specialized to meet the mission personnelŐs needs and changing requirements. These production, transmittal, handling, and storage processes are covered from a Mars perspective in this paper.
Two of the major concerns in the choice of those processes to be used on Mars, are preserving the integrity and the security of the data. These properties must be obtained and retained in the face of a panoply of risks, some unique to Mars and some not. Among the ones unique to Mars are environmental factors such as radiation, large temperature ranges, varied atmosphere compositions, physical obstacles (such as positions and curvatures and distances), and a meager availability of repair services and parts. Among the non-unique risks are human errors (like misstating a measurement unit or pushing an inappropriate key), hardware failures and inadequacies, software failures and inadequacies, system outages, system overloads, jamming either inadvertent or deliberate, and hacking (whether internal or external). As described in this paper, action can be taken to compensate for, mitigate, minimize, or prevent the occurrence of these risks.