Lunar Supercomputer Complex

At the AIAA Space conference held in Pasadena, Ca. last week, a doctoral student named Ouliang Chang studying at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering suggested that NASA build a supercomputer on the far side of the moon to help monitor communications throughout the solar system.

Ouliang Chang of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, suggested that NASA build a supercomputer and accompanying radio dishes on the far side of the moon in a deep crater near a pole where it would be protected from the moon's extreme temperature swings, and might let it tap polar water ice for cooling. This lunar supercomputer would not only ease the load on terrestrial mission control infrastructure, it would also provide computational power for the "first phase of lunar industrial and settlement development."

NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN) currently controls its space missions through a network of huge satellite dishes in California, Spain and Australia.

I don't know if Chang is a science fiction fan, but sf writers have written about lunar supercomputers before.

Larry Niven wrote about the problems of building an intelligent alien supercomputer on the moon in his 1979 short story The Schumann Computer.

We built it on the Moon.

It added about fifty percent to our already respectable costs. But... we were trying to build something more intelligent than ourselves. If the machine turned out to be Frankenstein's monster, we wanted it isolated. If all else failed, we could always pull the plug. On the Moon there would be no government to stop us.
(Read more about Niven's Chirpsithra supercomputer)

Of course, Heinlein fans remember Mike (aka Mycroft Holmes aka a fair dinkum thinkum), an intelligent computer installed in Luna, the largest city on the Moon, in his 1966 novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress:

When Mike was installed in Luna, he was pure thinkum, a flexible logic - "High-Optional, Logical, Multi-evaluating Supervisor, Mark IV, Mod. L" - a HOLMES FOUR. He computed ballistics for pilotless freighters and controlled their catapult. This kept him busy less than one percent of time and Luna Authority never believed in idle hands. They kept hooking hardware into him - decision-action boxes to let him boss other computers, bank on bank of additional memories, more banks of associational neural nets, another tubful of twelve-digit random numbers, a greatly augmented temporary memory. Human brain has around ten-to-the-tenth neurons. By third year Mike had better than one and a half times that many neuristors.

And woke up.

Via Daily Galaxy.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/21/2012)

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