On November 17, The Register reported that the European Commission (EC) is exploring new ways to reduce the impact of data centers and other HPC (high-performance computing) facilities on the climate. They even plan to launch data centers into space.
The EC led feasibility study ASCEND (Advanced Space Cloud of European Net Data) is a part of the EU’s “Horizon Europe” plan and has been supported by a budget of 2 million euros (currently about 14.72 million yuan).
The plan will build a data center powered entirely by solar panels to provide “hundreds of megawatts” of power. Data centers in space will use optical communications to connect to the Earth. According to its partner Thales Alenia Space, the EU has mastered the basic technology that can realize such a feasible deployment scheme.
However, it seems that the rocket launching the data center into space will also have a lot of carbon emissions, and the long-term operation in space is also a problem.
Therefore, the first objective of the study is to assess whether the carbon emissions generated by the construction and launch of space data centers are significantly lower than those generated by ground data centers. The second objective is to prove whether it is feasible to develop the required launch solution, that is, to fix the data center on the rocket and put it into the working orbit.