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posted by hubie on Tuesday November 22, @10:53PM   Printer-friendly
from the server-crash-and-burn-means-something-different-now dept.

The world's ever-increasing reliance on the internet comes at a physical cost. Data centers, which fulfill the vital role of housing and maintaining core computer services and data, are a central element of any operation that relies on digital resources. They're also physically large; as an organization grows, it does, too. Eventually, organizations are forced to consider not only where to put their data centers, but also how to power them efficiently and how to mitigate their emissions.

In recent years, we've started to stick data centers in deserts or in the middle of the ocean. Deserts present few service-disrupting natural disasters and tend to provide plenty of solar power; the ocean, as with Microsoft's Project Natick, helps keep data centers cool. But desert data centers are still land-intensive, and no Earth-based data centers are without their emissions...the key word, of course, being "Earth-based." The European Union thinks it can beat this challenge by sending data centers into space, and it's already working on testing this theory through a $2 million study called ASCEND.

Advanced Space Cloud for European Net zero emission and Data sovereignty (ASCEND) is the brainchild of the EU and Thales Alenia Space, a European aerospace company. The study's goal is to explore the feasibility of placing data center stations in low Earth orbit (LEO). [...]

If ASCEND is successful, the resulting technology could contribute to Europe's goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 under the Green Deal.

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by higuita on Wednesday November 23, @12:01AM (1 child)

    by higuita (2465) on Wednesday November 23, @12:01AM (#1281176)

    this can't be real, this is just a study for some "what if", specially if there is new tech that helps solving this problems:

    - sending things to space cost a lot, for each Kg you have to push, you will need more Kg of fuel
    - that alone makes everything not ecological, as that fuel is produced mostly in non-renewable ways
    - as it cost a lot, you can't send big things, so in best case, a small data center... and that takes no space in earth, a car garage is enough to replace a "space data center"
    - maintenance... satellites and likes have multiple redundancies so if something fails, other take over... for a "data center", this is even worse, most hardware is build so human can act on failure, in space that needs to be automatic, so special hardware needs to be build, putting again the cost up
    - even low orbit, the "data center" would be log more exposed to radiation and so failure and data corruption

    So i bet this was just one excuse for someone to get a researcher grant

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  • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday November 23, @09:09AM

    by c0lo (156) on Wednesday November 23, @09:09AM (#1281246) Journal

    - sending things to space cost a lot, for each Kg you have to push, you will need more Kg of fuel

    Ummm.... ok, more, but more than what?
    Because iff you can reach the point in which your more is actually less that the amount of energy consumed by that tech-kg on Earth, placing that kg in orbit is an one-off investment with a positive return.

    Hint: I was looking for an arrgument along the line of "if you have a tech with such a low energy consumption it can work on the puny solar panels you can afford to launch in space, it is likely you can afford to use it with the solar panels on Earth surface too. Launching an SSD in space doesn't magically make it more energy efficient", I found none.