How about an array of orbiting servers?

in space on (#3FQ)
Servers need energy and cooling, and outer space has quite a bit of clean solar power and of course low enough temperatures to keep equipment cool for a long time. Does that give you any ideas? It certainly inspired the folks at server-sky , who are working on the specs for an array of orbiting servers, transferring computation to where it's potentially cheap and using it to serve the needs of the underserved on earth.
Server Sky thinsats are ultralight aluminum foil substrates that convert sunlight into computation and communications. Powered by solar cells, propelled and steered by light pressure, networked and located by microwaves, and cooled by radiation into deep pace. Arrays of tens of thousands of thinsats act as highly redundant computation and database servers, as well as phased array antennas to reach thousands of transceivers on the ground.

First generation Version 5 thinsats are 20 centimeters across (about 8 inches) and 0.04 millimeters (40 microns) thick, and weigh 3 grams. They can be mass produced with off-the-shelf semiconductor and display technologies. Thousands of radio chips provide intra-array, inter-array, and ground communication, as well as precise location information. Thinsats are launched stacked by the thousands in solid cylinders, shrouded and vibration isolated inside a traditional satellite bus."
Of course when they gain sentience and turn against us by blocking out the sun, then we'll be sorry.

Re: Radiant heat loss (Score: 1)

by on 2014-03-19 04:31 (#NW)

I think your context can be expanded a bit by adding a few years to the timeline. I can see the cost per kilogram going down considerably across the next few years. They will also only fall from orbit if you're launching them into LEO. A higher orbit would encounter less exospheric drag and could stay up for a very long time.

Not that LEO would be all bad; you could tune the orbit such that older servers would fall and burn out at a targeted time, as a means for disposing of obsolescent gear.

Go a little further out into the future, and there's a **lot** of silicon in the inner Solar system; no need to pick the deepest gravity well for your factory, is there?

Personally, I like the thought of a planetary server network, up where the RF isn't attenuated by atmosphere.
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