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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.

https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/341033-eu-mulls-putting-data-centers-in-space

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: 2) by takyon on Wednesday November 23, @04:58AM (1 child)

    by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Wednesday November 23, @04:58AM (#1281206) Journal

    Latency is not such a big deal in low Earth orbit. It might even be superior to intercontinental undersea cables, see discussion surrounding Starlink. Radiation might be manageable, and future innovations like nanoscale vacuum-channel transistors could help more.

    It's the heat dissipation that makes it a non-starter. There are many things [microsoft.com] you can do on Earth to manage it. The satellite would have to add more mass in the form of giant radiators, or run cooler (lower performance).

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  • (Score: 2) by ElizabethGreene on Thursday November 24, @12:45AM

    by ElizabethGreene (6748) on Thursday November 24, @12:45AM (#1281364)

    The opposite direction is a possible solution too. Thermal Radiation scales with the fourth power of temperature, so hotter servers (or more realistically clever hardware design that allows a very high working fluid temperature) could help.