Taking cloud computing beyond our atmosphere.
Beyond the Clouds
One Florida-based startup wants to redefine the limits of cloud computing so drastically as to make its name obsolete — by taking it beyond our atmosphere and placing it on the lunar surface, Gizmodo reports.
In a press release on Monday, Lonestar Data Holdings announced that it had secured an additional $5 million in funding as it marches ever closer to its ambitious experiment of running data centers on the Moon.
"Data is the greatest currency created by the human race," said founder Chris Stott, in an earlier press release last year.
"We are dependent upon it for nearly everything we do and it is too important to us as a species to store in Earth's ever more fragile biosphere," he added. "Earth’s largest satellite, our Moon, represents the ideal place to safely store our future."
Lonestar — which seems like a strange name for a venture based in Florida rather than Texas — successfully tested its experimental data center in December 2021 in microgravity conditions, or what's essentially zero gravity, aboard the International Space Station.
With that under its belt, plus some extra cash to boot, Lonestar's now equipped to give the data center a shot on the real thing. But it isn't exactly shipping six foot servers — that'd be too inefficient and costly.
Instead, Lonestar will try out a mere two pound data center packing a 16 terabyte capacity, Stott said in an interview with SpaceNews last year — which is an ample starting point.
The server will be brought aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket as part of the upcoming IM-2 mission from Intuitive Machines, a NASA contractor.
Intuitive Machines' IM-1 mission, which has been repeatedly delayed, is set to launch for the Moon by this June. Its exact launch date, though, isn't quite set in stone, and as a result, IM-2's exact date remains yet uncertain.
Whenever it gets there, the initial data center will feed off the mission's lander for power and communications, Statt said. Assuming the experiment is successful, Lonestar hopes to have self-sufficient data centers on the Moon by 2026.
"We believe that expanding the world's economy to encompass the Moon, which happens to be the Earth's most stable satellite, is the next whitespace in the New Space Economy," said Brad Harrison, founder and managing partner of the VC firm Scout Ventures which led the latest round of funding, in the latest release.
"Data security and storage will be a necessary part of leading the new generation of lunar exploration," he added.
More on the Moon: New Orbiter Can See Inside Moon Craters Hidden in Total Darkness