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NASA Astronauts Will Get to Use This Extraterrestrial Supercomputer


A replica of the Hewlett Packard Enterprise computer used on the International Space Station.

A standard Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Apollo 4000-series business computer is being used to conduct science experiments on the International Space Station.

Credit: Hewlett Packard Enterprise

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is using a standard Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) Apollo 4000-series business computer to conduct science experiments on the International Space Station (ISS).

The Apollo 4000, technically a supercomputer because it can perform one trillion floating-point operations per second (a teraflop), is used for the initial processing of data from the stations cameras and other sensors, before selecting, compressing, and beaming down to Earth only relevant information, NASA said.

NASA finished testing the computer earlier this year to determine whether it was affected by exposure to cosmic rays, magnetic fields, and other factors in space, so in the three to four months before it is returned to Earth, the space agency has authorized its use for science experiments.

Said Mark Fernandez, lead developer for HPE’s Spaceborne Computer program, “We’ve got 32 [computing] cores onboard. We could run [at least] 32 virtual machines and address the computational needs of 32 experiments.”

From Fast Company
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