Artificial Intelligence In Space

Artificial intelligence is everywhere in our homes, workplace and even our cars. We can all agree that artificial intelligence has massively helped us all in simplifying tasks we do from, searching up the weather to simply just asking what the weather is to your device, cutting the time by half. It’s a no-brainer that NASA would try implement artificial intelligence into space travel and exploration.

Scientist at NASA are going to use artificial intelligence to help search for alien life in rock samples on Mars on the European Space Agency ExoMars mission in 2022 that was supposed to take place this summer but due to COVID-19, this has been delayed. The European Space Agency (ESA) Rosalind Franklin 'ExoMars' rover will be the first to have the novel AI system when it takes off for Earth’s Red neighbour in 2022. This will massively improve the efficiency of the transfer of data between planets as the transfer of data is expensive and time consuming, however the AI system has been trained to cut unnecessary data and both analyse and relay it back to us on Earth overcoming the limits of interplanetary data transfer.


Picture of the ExoMars Rover (Credit:ESA)


If this system, that’s first being tested on Mars, proves to work extraordinarily well, NASA plans to use it in the future for missions on Saturn and Jupiter. The work was presented at the Goldschmidt Geochemistry conference where lead researcher, Victoria Da Poian, describe it as, “a visionary step in space exploration”, as it will send back the most important pieces of data to Earth saving time and resources.

We need to prioritize the volume of data we send back to Earth, but we also need to ensure that in doing that we don’t throw out vital information
— Victoria Da Poian

However NASA is not stopping there. On the 29th of July, NASA plans to launch the first phase of their three-phase Entrepreneurs Challenge concentrated on leveraging evolving technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics to advance mission goals. NASA plans to pick 15 to 20 participants cutting down to 10 participants that will compete for $80,000 in additional prize funding later this year. The nominated participants will be granted at most $100,000 in funds and will be qualified to participate in associated events under NASA’s Small Business Innovative Research program. The second phase NASA will put on a live event where contestants will show their technologies to agency attendees along with venture capital firms. The last 10 contestants will be awarded $20,000 each in funding and submit their full concepts throughout the Innovation and Opportunity Conference later this year.

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