[Beowulf] Server Sky - Internet and computation in orbit

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Fri Jun 21 03:32:09 PDT 2013


(This may be Wacky Friday, but this one is not tongue in cheek -- the name
Keith Lofstrom should ring a bell).

http://server-sky.com/

Server Sky - internet and computation in orbit

It is easier to move terabits than kilograms or megawatts. Space solar power
will solve the energy crisis. Sooner if we process space power into high
value computation before we send it to earth. Computation is most valuable
where it is rarest - in the rural developing world. Human attention is the
most valuable resource on earth, and Server Sky space-based internet can
transport that attention from where it is most abundant to where it is most
valued.


Click RecentChanges on any page to see what I've been working on lately. This
website is a public work in progress - warts and all.

Server Sky thinsats are ultralight films of glass 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 space. 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 thinsats are 20 centimeters across (about 8 inches) and 0.08
millimeters (80 microns) thick, and weigh 5 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.

Traditional data centers consume almost 3% of US electrical power, and this
fraction is growing rapidly. Server arrays in orbit can grow to virtually
unlimited computation power, communicate with the whole world, pay for
themselves with electricity savings, and greatly reduce pollution and
resource usage in the biosphere.

The goal is an energy and space launch growth path that follows Moore's Law,
with the cost of energy and launch halving every two years. Server Sky may
cost two to ten times as much as ground-based computation in 2015, but is may
cost 100 times less in 2035. The computation growth driven by Moore's Law is
solving difficult problems from genetics to improved manufacture for
semiconductors. If Server Sky and Moore's Law can do the same for clean
energy, we can get rid of the carbon fuel plants, undam the rivers, and
reduce atmospheric CO2 far sooner than we had dared hope. Energy production
systems based on manual manufacturing, human construction assembly, and the
use of terrestrial land, biological habitat, and surface water, packaged to
survive weather, gravity, and corrosion, cannot grow at the same rate as
Moore's Law.

Server Sky is speculative. The most likely technical showstopper is radiation
damage. The most likely practical showstopper is misunderstanding. Working
together, we can fix the latter.


Why Bother? 212 Acres and a Marble

Thinsat Detailed Description

Thinsat Propulsion and Navigation

Deployment orbits

Launching Thinsats from Earth

Radios for communication, interconnect, synchronization, radar, and
orientation

The Space Environment - Radiation, Drag, Collisions, Erosion

Manufacturing Thinsats

Biological and Environmental Effects

Future Possibilities - low cost launch, terascale arrays, beam power to
Earth, scientific sensors

Criticism

Contact Us

Participate . . . . Mailing List Signup]

The Launch Loop, a speculative space launch system useful for launching
Server Sky.

This website is under construction - many of the sections need filling in. If
you want to improve spelling, add expertise, etc... send me an ASCII (not
html) email  and I will add you to the editor's list.


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