Next generation system and software architectures: Challenges from future NASA exploration missions

R Sterritt, CA Rouff, MG Hinchey, JL Rash, W Truszkowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The four key objective properties of a system that are required of it in order for it to qualify as “autonomic” are now well-accepted—self-configuring, self-healing, self-protecting, and self-optimizing—together with the attribute properties—viz. self-aware, environment-aware, self-monitoring and self-adjusting. This paper describes the need for next generation system software architectures, where components are agents, rather than objects masquerading as agents, and where support is provided for self-* properties (both existing self-chop and emerging self-* properties). These are discussed as exhibited in NASA missions, and in particular with reference to a NASA concept mission, ANTS, which is illustrative of future NASA exploration missions based on the technology of intelligent swarms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-57
JournalScience of Computer Programming
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Jun 2006

Bibliographical note

Other Details
This paper reports on some of the activity from a visiting research position with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (2004-present) concerned with investigating Autonomic and Autonomous Systems. It specifically focuses on using autonomic/self-managing swarm approaches (ANTS-Autonomous Nano-Technology Swarm) for next generation non-human exploration missions to the moon, Mars, Saturn's rings and the Asteroid Belt, examining the challenges this level of self-direction and self-management pose for future computer-based systems and architectures. This work has resulted in 7 joint (with NASA) patent-pending technologies, joint journal and book publications, and involvement in 8 NASA Autonomic related events.


  • Keywords: Self-*
  • Selfware
  • Autonomous systems
  • Autonomic systems
  • Agent architectures
  • Multi-agent technology
  • Intelligent systems
  • Spacecraft


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