Supercomputer with advanced cooling system to support NASA moon missions

The new liquid-cooled Aitken supercomputer will run modeling and simulation workloads for lunar landings.

NASA’s Ames Research Center just unveiled a new custom-designed Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) supercomputer to support its ongoing missions and the next voyage to the Moon. The high-performance computer will run entry, descent and landing modeling and simulations programs for the Artemis program, with the goal of landing "the first woman and the next man" on the Moon, specifically at the lunar south pole region by 2024.

Four years in the making, the Aitken supercomputer, named after astronomer Robert Grant Aitken, is based on the liquid-cooled HPE SGI 8600 system. Aitken features 1,150 nodes, 46,080 cores and 221 TB of memory and can run 3.69 petaflops (Floating-point Operations Per Second).

Aitken is located in NASA Ames’ new modular supercomputing facility, which is designed to deliver advanced high-performance computing solutions with significantly less electricity and water. The system uses cooling technology that relies on evaporative systems and uses outside air from the temperate San Francisco Bay Area, replacing the need for a cooling tower and millions of liters of water.

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