With the increase in energy consumption, the need for sustainable projects, and the risk of physical and cyber attacks, any idea is welcome.
It may sound like science fiction, but wear data centers to space can solve many of its challenges and bring great benefits
In a digital world, where everything seems to be in the cloud, we often forget that all that information, all that storage and computing power, has to be somewhere.
Thus, along with the cloud and the use of new technologies, physical data centers are growing around the planet. This creates many challenges. You have to power them up by implementing sustainable solutions, you have to manage to find remote places to increase security, you have to expand lines of communication, you have to cool them down, and more, and it’s not easy.
That is why every day it becomes more and more difficult to find places for their installation. It is not for nothing that it is so common to do this in deserts, where it is the advantage of solar energy and escape from natural disasters. Or even in the ocean, where cooling is the best solved problem. Like the word project Microsoft Natick.
But the European Union has gone a step further with this: Why not send them into space?
Space, the new frontier
Believe it or not space is an option for carrying a data center
Yes, that’s right, the European Union is considering sending data centers into space, with the aim of lowering carbon emissions, optimizing maintenance costs, making them independent of the electricity grid, which is becoming more expensive in Europe every day, and so on.
The project is called ascend (Advanced Space Cloud for European Net Zero Emission and Data Soberanía), and accompanied by the company Thales Alenia Space.
And there are reasons. For example, according to the University of Quebec’s High School of Technology (Canada), the exponential increase in computing generates 4% of the greenhouse gases produced by human activity.
Similarly, these infrastructures consume between 2% and 3% of the world’s energy now and are growing twice each year. It will amount to 10% of the global total.
This will change in space, with data centers powered by solar energy, in the megawatt scale, and connected to Earth via optical links. Much will be saved in cooling, for example, for the simple reason that space is already cold, with very low temperatures.
According to El País, the Spanish Nuclear Association estimates that between 4,000 and 5,000 million euros are needed for these facilities and believes that they could be built “without astronauts, completely automatically”. In fact, the facility will bundle itself with robots and design a modular hub with easy-to-load electronic packages on a reusable, collectible shuttle.
Not to mention, they would be safe from any natural disaster that could affect them on Earth, especially now with the visible consequences of climate change.
This next photo could be of something in orbit
There’s still a lot to study and plan for, Zakata said, but in a few years it wouldn’t be surprising if the first disaster above the clouds is in good shape.