Many computer hardware vendors have tossed around the expression "a supercomputer in your home!", and every time it's used, it's really incorrect - unless we're talking about comparing current tech to the supercomputers of olde. Well, if anyone ever said, "a supercomputer in space!", they can soon congratulate themselves, thanks to a joint partnership between HP Enterprise and SpaceX.
On Monday, August 14th, at 12:31 EST, a SpaceX CRS-12 mission will take off from Cape Canaveral and send a Dragon resupply capsule to the International Space Station (ISS) to drop off some usual supplies - laptops, freeze-dried ice cream, and oh, a supercomputer. In fact, it's one of HP's aptly-named Apollo 40 supercomputers.
Getting gear into space isn't easy. NASA scrutinizes each and every device that's meant to accompany its astronauts into space to make sure it lasts for as long as possible, and without rapid breakdown. Whereas laptops last the normal person here on earth a few years (or more) with regular use, that timeframe gets shrunk down to "months" in orbit. For an entire supercomputer to make it to space, a lot of problems had to no doubt be worked around.
Unfortunately, some of the tastiest bits of info have been left out here - namely, the specs, so hopefully that information will come out after the launch takes place. With a supercomputer accompanying the ISS team in space, it'll be interesting to see just how much quicker work can get done. It's important for those in the ISS, and it'll be even more important to those on future Moon or Mars missions.