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Friday, January 25, 2008

Virgin and the sun

At Wired, Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides notes how Richard Branson is thinking ahead, to "IT in Space" and space solar power:

The White Knight Two mother ship could carry a low earth orbit launcher with a 50-100 kg satellite to orbit. Might Branson have a vision for orbiting server farms getting their power directly from the sun and beaming electrons back and forth to end users sitting on the surface of the planet?

We were even speculating afterwards about sun facing polar orbits that could keep a set of solar panels in the sunlight 24/7.

If server farm power costs and the factored in costs to the environment at home get high enough maybe the IT world would be interested in space hardening and launching their servers. Maybe being an IT server technician would become a new career path into low earth orbit -- now that could be a big hit in the IT world.

Even if it is a long way off, I was glad that Branson and Hawking are thinking about it. Creativity and long range thinking are going to be keys to the next 50 years -- on this planet and off.

Somebody's got to think about this stuff, even if others somehow know in advance that it can't be done.

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