SpaceX set to deliver ‘supercomputer’ to the International Space Station for testing – SOFREP (press release) (subscription)

Posted: August 15, 2017 at 11:49 am

One of the largest challenges a human mission to deep space would face would be the inevitable communications delay caused by the vast distances between Mission Control on Earth, and the spacecraft carrying the crew. During the Apollo missions, in which American astronauts visited the moon, that communications delay was only around 1.3 seconds each way, meaning that youd need to wait 2.6 seconds (1.3 for your message to get there, and 1.3 for their response to come back) to get an answer to your question.

Insignificant as that delay may seem, it will eventually grow to a full 90 minutes or so for the crew of a trip to Mars, meaning the astronauts would not be able to rely on the collective expertise and computing power offered by our ground-based space infrastructure. Emergency course corrections, in three dimensions and with limited fuel, would require the ability to instantly complete complex calculations with little to no margin for error. While there are rumors of early Gemini astronauts doing just that at least once, a mission to Mars or further would require the ability to make these decisions near-instantly; something no human being may be able to do.

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Alex Hollings Alex Hollings served as an active duty Marine for six and a half years before being medically retired from service. As an athlete, Hollings has raced exotic cars, played Marine Corps football and college rugby, fought in cages, and even wrestled alligators. As a scholar, he has earned a masters degree in Communications from Southern New Hampshire University, as well as undergraduate degrees in Corporate and Organizational Communications and Business Management.

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SpaceX set to deliver ‘supercomputer’ to the International Space Station for testing – SOFREP (press release) (subscription)

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