Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has built a custom-made supercomputer specially designed to help support NASA's future moon missions that will send the first woman on the lunar surface.

Aitken Supercomputer

The new supercomputer named "Aitken" will be used by scientists and engineers at NASA's Ames Research Center in California who are working on the upcoming Artemis moon mission.

Named after American astronomer Robert Grant Aitken who specializes in binary star systems, the computer can run thousands of complex simulations at up to 3.69 petaFLOPs of theoretical performance power.

Aitken employs second-generation Intel Xeon processors, Mellanox InfiniBand high-speed networking, and has 221 TB of memory for storage.

Aitken is based on end-to-end, purpose-built high-performance computing (HPC) platform, the HPE SGI 8600 system that features special liquid cooling capabilities for optimized energy efficiency.

Aitken will model different methods of entry, descent, and landing for the Artemis spacecraft. The computer will run simulations to determine possible outcomes and help identify the best and safest approach.

Aitken will be located in the Modular Supercomputer Facility at NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.

NASA said it is housed in the first module of the facility, which is based on a Modular Data Center (MDC) approach that the U.S. space agency developed together with HPE for greater efficiency and to significantly reduce the use of water and electricity.

The new facility will tap on the native Bay Area temperature and evaporative methods to cool the computer instead of a cooling towers and millions of gallons of water.

"HPE has a longstanding collaboration with NASA Ames, and together, we continue to build innovative HPC technologies to fuel space and science discovery that increase overall efficiency and reduce costs,"Bill Mannel, vice president and general manager of HPE's HPC and AI, said in a statement.

"We are honored to have designed the new Aitken supercomputer and power capabilities for humanity's next mission to the moon."

Artemis Moon Program

NASA hopes to land the first woman on the moon with the launch of the manned Artemis mission in 2024. The program also aims to develop sustainable human presence on the lunar surface by the year 2028. NASA considers the lunar program as crucial in its planned manned mission to planet Mars.

"Through the agency's Artemis lunar exploration program, we will use innovative new technologies and systems to explore more of the Moon than ever before," NASA said. "We will use what we learn on and around the Moon to take the next giant leap - sending astronauts to Mars."

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