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The startup Lonestar announces its plan to bury a server farm on the moon, to safeguard the memory of humanity where it would be less secure on Earth.

The startup Lonestar Data Holdings Inc. presented 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 empty lava tubes that are believed to line the surface of the Moon. The idea is to help future lunar missions and potentially save human knowledge after the Earth disappears. He also announced that he has contracted with Intuitive Machines for his first two missions to 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 from Earth. Fully funded with venture capital, Lonestar aims to provide data and communications services from the Earth’s largest satellite, the Moon, by providing a platform for critical data infrastructure and cutting-edge processing, and leveraging its ITU spectrum repositories to enable broadband communications. Consider it a much safer place to store important information.

Lonestar believes that storing data on the moon is safer than the “Svalbard Global Seed Vault” in Norway, a facility designed to thwart humanity’s cultivation efforts. If we don’t, what will happen to our data on Earth? The seed bank was flooded due to the effects 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, the creation of data centers on the Moon has several advantages for storing human data.

One of the main advantages of storing data on the Moon would be that its near side is always facing the Earth, which means that it is possible to establish a direct and constant communication between the devices of the Moon. The company announced in April that it is taking advantage of its experience and is already “running the world’s first web server on the International Space Station.” He has also signed a contract with Intuitives Machines to launch the first technology demonstrations on the Moon as part of the space agency’s “Commercial Lunar Payload Services” program.

Intuitive Machines is a NASA-funded aerospace company. The initial test is software-only, with Intuitives Machines’ Nova-C landing hardware storing Lonestar prototype data. In a second release, scheduled for next year, Lonestar plans to send its first hardware prototype with 16 memory trabytes to the lunar surface. However, aside from the fact that the idea seems to come straight from a sci-fi movie, the company still has a lot of hurdles to overcome. First, it was extremely 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 the national space agency of India crashed their lunar terrifiers Beresheet and Chandrayaan-2, respectively. The strong gravitational pull of the Moon and the very fine atmosphere mean that the speeds at which spacecraft approach the surface must be significantly reduced in a short time to land smoothly.

And there are the inhospitable conditions on the lunar surface, with very variable temperatures and the presence of uninterrupted cosmic radiation, which are not exactly ideal conditions for a data center. In fact, the surface temperature of the Moon can go from a scorching temperature of 106 ° C during the day to -183 ° C at night. To counter this, Lonestar plans to store its concentrators inside lunar lava tubes, which could provide a much more stable environment. But the problem is that these tubes are still hypothetical and no one has ever visited them, not even installed the server hardware.

At the moment, the company seems unclear how it will maintain its future facilities on the surface of the Moon in a suitable environment to ensure the viability of the materials and the good flow of information between the Earth and its natural satellite. . In addition, Lonestar is still determining bandwidth rates and has announced that it has obtained permissions to transmit data to the Moon and return to Earth in the S, X and Ka bands of the radio spectrum. Once established, the company could provide future lunar missions with a critical data transmission infrastructure.

She sees this as an important part of any attempt to establish our presence on the moon. In addition to the hypothetical nature of lunar lava tubes and the difficulties mentioned above, Lonestar must also address concerns about possible changes as well as the pollution that its data centers could generate on the surface of the moon. Moon. In fact, the servers that will make up the lunar data centers of Lonestar will be manufactured on Earth, which means that the latter will withstand the environmental impact of their manufacture.

However, the operation of data centers is the critical phase of their life cycle. It includes different elements: 24-hour server operation and server cooling. Lonestar has not indicated how it will provide these two elements, but it could depend on solar power to power the servers. On the other hand, experts think that its cooling could be more complicated than it seems. Scientists are trying to prove the presence of water on the moon, but it is not yet clear if it is available in sufficient quantities to enable industrial operations such as data centers.

In this regard, critics fear that the abusive exploitation of the Moon’s water resources, the existence of which is still being discussed, will further heat the Moon’s surface. According to them, in addition to the extreme temperatures already experienced during the day, this warming could cause irreversible changes for the only natural satellite of the Earth. Many unanswered questions remain about the installation of data centers on the surface of the Moon. Lonestar is convinced, however, that the survival of humanity’s memory depends on the relocation of the safeguarding of information to the moon.

Data is the largest currency created by the human race. We depend on them for almost everything we do, and they are too important to us as a species to store them in the increasingly fragile biosphere of the Earth. “The largest satellite on Earth, our Moon, is the perfect place to store our future safely,” said Lonestar founder Christopher Stott.

Source: Lonestar press release

And you?

What is your opinion on the subject?
What do you think of Lonestar’s plan to install data centers on the moon?
Do you think this is a viable project? Are these infrastructures safe for the Moon?
Do you agree with Lonestar that the memory of humanity is not secure on Earth?

See also

Work has begun on the world’s first commercial underwater data center planned off the coast of Hainan Island in China by China Offshore Oil Engineering Co.

Is the future of the data center under the sea? With its Natick project, Microsoft hopes to reduce latency, but also deployment times

Microsoft is accelerating plans to make its data centers less “thirsty,” moving to a two-stage immersion cooling that doesn’t require water.

Google uses billions of gallons of water a year to cool its data centers, taking advantage of public water supplies that are already under heavy pressure, according to a report.

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