Off-Off-Prem storage takes flight to the Moon

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CDOs know the onsite and offsite. But a company in the US state of Florida now wants to store your data offsite. Lonestar Data Holdings has announced plans for lunar data centers on Earth’s moon, some 360,000 km (perigee) from our spinning globe.

“Lonestar sees the Moon as the ideal location to service the high-end segment of the $200 billion global data storage industry while addressing key environmental and growing biosphere concerns triggered by the growing growth of data centers. of data in the world,” Lonestar said in a statement.

Intimidating environment

The stated goal of placing data centers on the moon appears to be driven by ecological concerns. “Data is the greatest currency created by the human race,” said Chris Stott, founder of Lonestar. “We depend on them for almost everything we do, and they are too important to us as a species to be stored in Earth’s ever more fragile biosphere. Earth’s largest satellite, our Moon, represents the perfect place to safely store our future.”

It is commendable. But Earth’s satellite seems an intimidating place for such storage.

“The surface of the Moon is an extreme environment with temperatures ranging from 140°C to −171°C, atmospheric pressure of 10−ten Pa, and high levels of ionizing radiation from the Sun and cosmic rays,” said Wikipedia. “In most practical cases, the Moon is considered to be surrounded by vacuum.”

Form follows function

“Believing that form and function matter as global data takes that next giant leap, Lonestar is also working with world-renowned architectural firm BIG on the exterior design of their first lunar data center.” The company mentioned is the Danish group BIG-Bjarke Ingels, which collaborated with “Heatherwick Studio [and] Google’s design and engineering teams” at Google’s new Bay View campus. The idea “is to create human-centered design for the future of the Google workplace and set new global sustainability standards for office construction and design.”

Confluence of visionary space experts and renowned architects

While Silicon Valley is firmly entrenched on Terra, the BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group (led by “starchitect” and BIG founder Bjarke Ingels) is the company behind Mars Dune Alpha, “architect-designed habitat touted as ‘the highest fidelity simulated habitat ever built’ for living on the red planet.”

In 2016, architect Rem Koolhaas named Ingels one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. “The Danish architect, known for his explosive design solutions, has worked to position his company as the go-to design visionary for building habitable ecosystems on a scorching planet with no breathable air or clean water,” writes Quartz. .

That sounds good. But Google and NASA have known revenue streams that can likely support off-world projects. What about Lonestar Data Holdings?

Moon Partners

Lonestar describes itself as a “VC-funded startup” in its April press release announcing its plans for lunar data centers. “Lonestar contracts with Intuitive Machines and Skycorp to bring state-of-the-art key data storage and processing infrastructure to the world from the Moon,” the company adds.

Texas-based Intuitive Machines has a contract to “commit to providing research, including scientific investigation and technology demonstration, on the Moon in 2024,” according to a NASA press release. “Commercial delivery is part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative and the Artemis program.”

Placing data centers on the moon appears to be driven by ecological concerns

“Intuitive Machines’ Nova-C lander surveys are aimed at Reiner Gamma, one of the Moon’s most distinctive and enigmatic natural features,” NASA said. The US space agency said Reiner Gamma is “known as a lunar vortex” and “scientists continue to learn what lunar vortices are, how they form, and their relationship to the Moon’s magnetic field.”

According CrunchbaseSkycorp Incorporated, based in California, “is concerned with expanding spaceflight capabilities between Earth and the Moon, and beyond.”

Pie in the sky?

“Lonestar is currently closing its $5 million funding round from investors including Seldor Capital and 2 Future Holding,” said The register. “To raise more money, it will need to prove that its technology is feasible and will start with small demonstrations on commercial lunar payloads.”

The NASA press release states, “Intuitive Machines will receive $77.5 million for the contract and is responsible for end-to-end delivery services, including payload integration, delivery from Earth to the surface of the Moon, and payload operations…the four Intuitive Investigations Machines delivered to Reiner Gamma are collectively expected to weigh approximately 203 pounds (92 kg) in mass.

These investigations include measuring equipment and include “mobile robots programmed to work in autonomous teams to explore the lunar surface, collect data and map different areas of the Moon in 3D”. It’s exciting, and it’s also expensive.

It can be tempting to dismiss so-called lunar data centers as either pie in the sky or sheer madness. No more realistic than 1902 movie A trip to the moon by the famous French director Georges Méliès. But it’s a disservice.

As Star Trek reminds us, space is the final frontier. It’s a tough environment, but the potential rewards are high.

Certain industrial processes will benefit from weightlessness – if the inherent challenges can be overcome. As our planet becomes depleted of rare earths and other minerals, these substances may well exist elsewhere in our solar system. They may be beyond our reach, but how will we ever know if we don’t try to extend that reach?

Perhaps the confluence of visionary space experts and talented architects will one day result in efficient data storage on Earth’s satellite. But, in 2022, the most accurate statement we can make is, “We just don’t know yet how feasible it will be.”

Stefan Hammond is editor of CDOTrends. Best practices, IOT, payment gateways, robotics and the ongoing fight against cyber-hackers pique his interest. You can reach him at [email protected].

Photo credit: iStockphoto/Elen11

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