NASA Sends an HP Super-Computer up to the ISS
The “Spaceborne Computer”, as HP calls it, is part of a year-long experiment designed to give the ISS greater autonomy. The ISS has always been heavily reliant on remote, Earth-based systems to do its computational heavy lifting. That might seem surprising, but until recently, outsourcing the work to Earth-based systems was a more viable solution than powerful computer maintenance, while in orbit. One big problem with this system is the communications lag from the station; astronauts aboard the ISS often have to deal with internet speeds that would frustrate the average Starbucks customer, so there’s a serious bottleneck getting data back and forth between the ISS and the ground.
With NASA looking ahead to future Mars missions, the issue of communication speeds will make independent spacecraft computers essential.
Talking about the ISS Spaceborne Computer experiment, Dr. Eng Lim Goh of Hewlett Packard said:
As well as pushing the frontiers of spacecraft computing, HP hopes the ISS experiment will give them valuable insights to employ in their next generation of personal computers.
Who doesn’t want a laptop you can take into outer space?