If your phone loses power 17 times a day, with a duration ranging from 1 second to 20 minutes, you will get a new wireless service provider. This is basically the problem that the astronauts on the International Space Station are dealing with, but they don’t have that choice.
This is how Mark Fernandez of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) explains the state of communication between the International Space Station and the Earth-and this is one of the reasons why he is excited about owning a computer.
Fernandez is the lead researcher of HPE Onboard computer-2Launched to the International Space Station in February.
“The communication continuity of the space station is very fragile,” he explained. “So we need to empower [astronauts] More autonomy. By owning a Spaceborne Computer-2 board, not only can they increase their confidence, but also their ability to solve their own problems without relying on the earth. “
This makes the International Space Station an extreme case study of edge computing. The concept of edge computing is to bring storage and processing closer to the data source to increase speed and reduce the bandwidth required for cloud computing.
“We are seeing more and more scenarios shift to the edge, which is changing the way developers think about writing applications, and how they think about bandwidth and bandwidth scarcity,” Tom Keane said.Microsoft sky blue
For Microsoft, the project is part of a larger effort called Azure Space, which also includes cooperation with SpaceX and other companies.
HPE’s Spaceborne Computer-2 uses off-the-shelf servers and components, packaged in hardware designed for harsh environments. Microsoft and HPE have teamed up to connect Spaceborne Computer-2 from orbit to Azure to enable advanced artificial intelligence applications on the International Space Station.
They are using standard and open source software tools, such as Python and Linux containers, to ensure that others can participate in or build their methods in the future.
On Wednesday morning, the two companies announced that they had completed their first experiment. Their scope ranges from successful “hello world” messages to tests on potatoes grown on the International Space Station in zero gravity to better understand the causes of their deformities.
But so far, the biggest test is the in-depth analysis of the astronaut’s genome, looking for new clues about the effects of staying in space for a long time on the human body.
The original data is hundreds of gigabytes, and trying to transfer in this case is an unrealistic size. Spaceborne Computer-2 is allocated two hours a week to download an aging system from the International Space Station that uses tracking and data relay satellites (TDRS) to connect to base stations on Earth.
Instead, these companies packaged software developed by Microsoft into a Linux container to process the astronaut genome on Spaceborne Computer-2. They then send detailed information about any mutations to Earth to analyze and generate results based on the National Institutes of Health database.
“This is a brief message that we can return to the space station,” Fernandez said. “It used to take weeks or even months to download the genome, but once we are at the edge, we can download it in just a few minutes.”
The two companies said that they have completed four experiments so far, four more are in progress, and 29 more are planned. Spaceborne Computer-2 is expected to be used for research projects on the International Space Station for two to three years.
Time is of the essence: Congress has authorized the International Space Station budget to 2024, but even if the budget is extended, Not expected to exceed 2030.