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Moon Supercomputing Science

A Supercomputer On the Moon To Direct Deep Space Traffic 166

Hugh Pickens writes "NASA currently controls its deep space missions through a network of 13 giant antennas in California, Spain and Australia known as the Deep Space Network (DSN) but the network is obsolete and just not up to the job of transmitting the growing workload of extra-terrestrial data from deep space missions. That's why Ouliang Chang has proposed building a massive supercomputer in a deep dark crater on the side of the moon facing away from Earth and all of its electromagnetic chatter. Nuclear-powered, it would accept signals from space, store them, process them if needed and then relay the data back to Earth as time and bandwidth allows. The supercomputer would run in frigid regions near one of the moon's poles where cold temperatures would make cooling the supercomputer easier, and would communicate with spaceships and earth using a system of inflatable, steerable antennas that would hang suspended over moon craters, giving the Deep Space Network a second focal point away from earth. As well as boosting humanity's space-borne communication abilities, Chang's presentation at a space conference (PDF) in Pasadena, California also suggests that the moon-based dishes could work in unison with those on Earth to perform very-long-baseline interferometry, which allows multiple telescopes to be combined to emulate one huge telescope. Best of all the project has the potential to excite the imagination of future spacegoers and get men back on the moon."
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A Supercomputer On the Moon To Direct Deep Space Traffic

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 14, 2012 @02:38PM (#41650797)
    Leave the computing power here on Earth, where it can easily be installed, repaired, and upgraded as necessary without budget-busting missions. Put a simple relay station on the moon if you feel it's necessary. Put two - one primary, once backup. Good god.
  • The Big Ear (Score:3, Interesting)

    by shawnhcorey ( 1315781 ) on Sunday October 14, 2012 @02:45PM (#41650853) Homepage
    I always thought that putting a radio-telescope on the back side of the moon would be a good idea since the moon would block all the electromagnetic noise from Earth. Two could be installed, one just over the curve near the north pole and one near the south pole. This would give a baseline of appropriately the diameter of the moon. It would be one, big ear.

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