NASA has joined forces with HPE (Hewlett Packard Enterprise) for constructing a new supercomputer, particularly employed for designing models and simulations of the landing procedure. The designed simulations will be used for training purposes in Artemis Moon missions. NASA has planned to set up this powerful machine at its Ames Research Center in California.
Aitken, NASA’s upcoming supercomputer, is named after Robert Grant Aitken—a popular American astronomer. Aitken can run simulations with a performance power of up to 3.69 petaFLOPS on a theoretical basis. Aitken is actually a part of a project undertaken by Ames modular data center in 2017 with an aim of significantly reducing the amount of energy and water utilized in cooling its supercomputing system.
Aitken would be equipped with second-generation Intel Xeon processors, huge onboard storage of 221 Terabytes, and Mellanox Technologies-based end-to-end InfiniBand and high-speed Ethernet connectivity. NASA and HPE have been working on supercomputer development since 2015.
Earlier this year, HPE also revealed that it planned to acquire Seattle-based supercomputer manufacturing company Cray for $1.3 Billion.
On a related note, in the last week of July 2019, NASA canceled the contract with OrbitBeyond regarding the construction of a robotic moon lander in the coming year. OrbitBeyond is a US-based firm that builds extensible technologies for lunar exploration. NASA revealed the joint venture with the firm just two months back.
The space agency decided to abolish the contract after it received a memo from OrbitBeyond. In the memo, the firm specified that due to some internal corporate issues, it would not be able to achieve its goals by the deadline. Now, the firm would not contribute in sending a robotic lander on the lunar surface by the next year, but NASA has clarified that the firm is eligible to grab future opportunities to be offered under Artemis mission.
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