Startup Lonestar Data Holdings Inc. announced this year its plan to launch a series of data centers on the lunar surface. The company explained that it wants to store data in data centers located inside hollow lava tubes believed to be aligned with the Moon’s surface. The idea is to help future lunar missions and, potentially, save human knowledge after Earth disappears. It also announced that it has contracted with Intuitive Machines for its first two missions on the lunar surface and for the construction of the first data center on the Moon.
After hyperscale data centers on Earth and underwater data centers, Lonestar now wants to move data centers away from Earth. Fully funded by venture capital, Lonestar aims to provide data and communications services from Earth’s largest satellite, the Moon, providing the platform for critical data infrastructure and edge processing, and utilization of ITUs its spectrum depot to enable broadband communications. He feels it is a safer place to store important information.
Lonestar believes storing data on the Moon is safer than the “Svalbard Global Seed Vault” in Norway, a facility designed to frustrate humanity’s cultivation efforts. If we don’t, what will happen to our data on Earth? The seed bank was flooded due to the impact of climate change. It is also susceptible to other forms of destruction such as war or cyberattacks, said Christopher Stott, Founder and CEO of Lonestar. According to the startup, there are several advantages to creating data centers on the Moon to store humanity’s data.
One of the main advantages of storing data on the Moon is that its close part is always facing the Earth, which means that it is possible to establish a consistent and direct line of sight communication between devices on the Moon. . . The company announced in April that it was building on its experience and “operating the world’s first web server on the International Space Station.” In addition, it signed a contract with Intuitives Machines to launch early technology demonstrations on the Moon as part of the agency’s “Commercial Lunar Payload Services” program.
Intuitive Machines is an aerospace company funded by NASA. The first test was software-only, with Intuitives Machines ’Nova-C lander hardware storing data from the Lonestar prototype. In the second launch, scheduled for next year, Lonestar plans to ship its first hardware prototype with 16 trabytes of memory to the lunar surface. However, aside from the idea that seems straight from a sci-fi movie, the company still has many hurdles to overcome. First, it proved very difficult to land almost anything on the Moon.
Soft landings on the Moon are notoriously difficult; many attempts by the Soviets and the United States in the 1960s ended in failure. The last two failed attempts were in 2019, when the Israeli company SpaceIL and India’s national space agency crashed into their Beresheet and Chandrayaan-2 lunar landers respectively. The strong gravitational pull of the Moon and very thin atmosphere means that the speeds at which the spacecraft approaches the surface must significantly slow down in the short term in order to land properly.
And there are unfavorable conditions on the moon’s surface, with wide -ranging temperatures and the presence of uninterrupted cosmic radiation, which are not exactly ideal conditions for a data center. In fact, the temperature on the Moon’s surface can go from a scorching temperature of 106C during the day to -183C at night. To counter this, Lonestar plans to store its hubs inside lunar lava tubes, which could provide a more stable environment. But the problem is that these pipes remain hypothetical and no one has visited one, or even installed server hardware.
So far, it seems unclear to the company how it will keep its future installations on the Moon’s surface in an adequate environment to ensure the viability of the materials and the efficient transfer of information between Earth and its satellite. natural. In addition, Lonestar is still determining bandwidth rates and announced that it has obtained permissions to send data to the Moon and back to Earth in the S, X and Ka bands of the radio spectrum. Once established, the company can provide future moon missions with critical data transmission infrastructure.
He sees this as an integral part of any attempt to establish our presence on the Moon. Furthermore, in addition to the hypothetical nature of lunar lava tubes and the difficulties mentioned above, Lonestar must also respond to concerns about possible changes as well as the pollution that its data centers may generate on the surface. of the Moon. In fact, the servers that will build Lonestar’s lunar data centers will be built on Earth, which means the latter will have an impact on the environment of their creation.
However, the operation of data centers is the critical stage of their life cycle. It includes various elements: 24 hour server operation and server cooling. Lonestar has not indicated how it will provide these two elements, but it can rely on solar energy to power the servers. On the other hand, experts think their cooling may be more complicated than it seems. Scientists are trying to prove the existence of water on the Moon, but it’s still unclear if it’s available in sufficient quantities to allow industrial operations such as data centers.
In this regard, critics fear that the abusive exploitation of the Moon’s water resources, whose existence is still controversial, will further warm the Moon’s surface. According to them, added to the extreme temperatures it already experiences during the day, this warming could cause irreversible changes for Earth’s only natural satellite. Many questions remain unanswered about the installation of data centers over the Moon. However, Lonestar is convinced that the survival of humanity’s memory depends on the transfer of information custody to the Moon.
Data is the greatest money mankind has ever created. We rely on them for almost everything we do, and they are too important to us as a species to be stored in the Earth’s increasingly fragile biosphere. “Earth’s largest satellite, our Moon, is the perfect place to store our future safely,” said Lonestar founder Christopher Stott.
Source: Lonestar press release
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