Europe will install data centers in space

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Artificial intelligence is driving increasing demand for data centers, which have high energy and environmental costs. However, this situation could change if they moved into space.

The use of artificial intelligence generates various problems, including significant energy consumption and significant environmental impact. The European Union seeks to mitigate these effects through an innovative solution: installing data centers in space.

Demand for data centers is on the rise, regardless of AI, because they house internet servers. However, AI is increasing this need due to its greater processing power requirements, leading to the need for more powerful servers.

The main disadvantage of data centers is their high consumption of electricity and water for cooling, which means a huge environmental burden. So the proposed solution, although complex, is clear: move data centers into space.

EU Space Data Centres by 2050

Building data centers in space would solve several problems at once. These centers would be powered by clean solar energy and would not require water cooling, as temperatures in space can drop to 200 degrees below zero.

The EU commissioned Thales Alenia Space to conduct a feasibility study on this proposal. The study concluded that it is not only feasible, but could generate significant economic benefits by 2050.

The ASCEND study was led by Thales Alenia Space, an Italian-French aerospace company with operations in ten countries, including Spain. The study designed a viable system for installing data centers in Earth orbit.

Thales Alenia Space has coordinated a consortium of European companies specialising in various areas, including environmental aspects (Carbone 4, VITO), cloud services (Orange Business, CloudFerro, Hewlett Packard Enterprise), launch platforms (ArianeGroup) and orbital systems (German Aerospace Research Centre DLR, Airbus Defence & Space and Thales Alenia Space).

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These companies have set a plan to make the ASCEND project a reality between 2035 and 2050, expecting the technology to generate benefits worth millions of euros.

The goal is to build data centers in space orbiting the Earth. Each panel containing the servers will be surrounded by solar panels that provide power.

Technical and logistical challenges

First, it will be necessary to develop a launch rocket that is ten times less polluting than current rockets, as multiple launches will be required. According to the study, this will be possible by 2035.

The modular space infrastructure will be assembled in orbit with the help of robots from the European Commission's EROSS IOD project, whose first demonstration mission is scheduled for 2026.

The data will be transmitted to Earth using technologies used by satellite internet companies, such as Starlink.

The study predicts that by 2050, European data centers will consume 23 gigawatts of electricity, and space data centers could provide 1 gigawatt, generating billions of euros in benefits. We hope this vision comes true.

With information from the computer Hoy

Myrtle Frost

"Reader. Evil problem solver. Typical analyst. Unapologetic internet ninja."

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