Careers In AI

Mar

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20

How Current Space Exploration Is Helped by AI, on the Ground and Out of This World

By Christopher Collins

Are you fascinated by space exploration and the mysteries of the universe? Well, buckle up because we're about to take a journey that's out of this world! In this article, you will be introduced to the fascinating ways in which Artificial Intelligence is being used as an essential tool in modern space exploration. From autonomous spacecraft to AI-powered robots, artificial intelligence is playing a critical role in shaping the future of space exploration. In this blog post, we'll explore how AI technologies are helping us to achieve great feats in space exploration, from navigating through the cosmos to analyzing vast amounts of data collected by spacecraft. So, grab your space suit, and let's blast off into the fascinating world of AI and space exploration!

From the Ground Up

NASA is using artificial intelligence to assist with mission design and planning procedures before the missions even launch. With AI's ability to scan through data from previous missions and choose the most relevant information, mission planning becomes faster and less prone to error. NASA has also developed an AI technology called DAPHNE, that provides instant feedback on questions related to Earth observation satellite systems.

Pushing data to the cloud and improving computational capabilities are two of the main goals of NASA's DAPHNE (Data Acquisition Processing and Handling Network Environment) cloud-based solution. Using this technique has allowed NASA to save money by reducing the number of racks required at its ground stations. 

Why worry about the power of that rocket ship hurtling you into space when you've got DAPHNE on your side? She's got all the "space-planning" skills you need to make sure your mission is a success! And with rockets capable of producing up to 7.5 million pounds of thrust, you'll be grateful for all the planning and precision that AI brings to the table.

The best part? If anything goes wrong, you won't have to blame a human. So sit back, relax, and let DAPHNE handle the complicated stuff while you focus on exploring the final frontier!

Astronaut Training

As an astronaut, you better be ready to buckle up and blast off into the great beyond! But before you do, you'll get to experience some of the coolest virtual training out there, all thanks to AI. 

AI-powered virtual reality simulations are used to train astronauts for space missions. NASA's Virtual Reality Lab and the NASA Space Center in Houston have been using VR for several years to simulate spacewalk scenarios and acclimatize astronauts. Boeing is also using Varjo virtual reality headsets to train astronauts, allowing them to see instruments in high resolution and providing a more realistic training experience. The use of VR in space exploration has many applications, including training for dangerous environments.

This ain't your grandpappy's training, folks! We're talking about simulations so realistic, you'll swear you're already floating in zero gravity. With this kind of cutting-edge training, you'll be more than ready to take on any challenge the universe throws your way. Bring it on, space!

Astronauts on a Mission

Worried about DAPHNE’s judgment? An astronaut can always get a second opinion. Gone are the days when astronauts had to rely solely on their own wits to navigate through the vast expanse of space! Nowadays, they have AI-trained virtual assistants installed in their spaceships, ready to lend a hand (or a circuit board) whenever needed. These geniuses can offer up answers to any and all of an astronaut's questions, and even sniff out danger before it has a chance to ruin the fun. Who needs a co-pilot when you've got a virtual buddy who knows the cosmos like the back of their motherboard? 


Picture this: you're floating through the International Space Station, minding your own business, when suddenly you come face to face with CIMON. This little guy is an AI-powered robot designed to help astronauts with their daily tasks. And let me tell you, he's one high-tech piece of machinery.


CIMON is a free-floating, sphere-shaped companion that uses artificial intelligence to support all sorts of activities up there in space. Need someone to talk to on those long, lonely nights? CIMON's got your back. Want to know the weather forecast for your next spacewalk? CIMON's your guy.


And get this, CIMON even has emotions. That's right, his digital face can display all sorts of feelings - happy, sad, angry, you name it. It's like having a little buddy up there in the vast expanse of space.


But don't be fooled by his cute exterior - CIMON was created using 3D printing and is the result of a collaboration between Airbus and the German Aerospace Center. He's the real deal, folks. And if you're lucky enough to make it up to the ISS, you just might get to meet him. Who knows, you two might become best buds and take on the universe together.

Autonomous Spacecraft & Robots

Did you know that currently, spacecraft need to communicate with Earth to do their job? That is soon going to change, the European Space Agency is developing autonomous spacecraft that use AI to take care of tasks without needing to communicate with Earth. Developing autonomous spacecraft that uses AI to make decisions without human intervention will be very useful for exploring new parts of the Solar System and reducing mission costs. Such spacecraft would be able to perform complex tasks and operate in environments that are too dangerous for humans.


Space tech is all about creating AI-powered robots can perform tasks such as drilling, sampling, and repairing equipment on other planets, without the need for human intervention.

As an astronaut if you are not deterred by the fact that much of your mission and training is now planned by AI, how do you feel about plans for your spaceship to soon be driven by AI and manned entirely by robots? But before that happens, you'll get to experience the very best virtual simulation training, courtesy of our AI overlords. Don't worry, we promise they won't turn on us and take over the ship... probably. Who needs real-life training when you can just plug in and virtually experience everything you'll encounter in space? AI algorithms help spacecraft navigate through space and avoid collisions with other objects. AI technologies can classify and identify objects in images and video taken by spacecraft, making it easier to understand the environment and identify potential hazards.


AI technology can also help determine the best trajectory for a mission to reach its destination. It's like a video game, but with real-life consequences, if you mess up. Good luck, and may the AI odds be ever in your favor.


Gone are the days of having to speak in geeky programming language or binary code just to communicate with your spaceship's computer! Thanks to advanced natural language processing and AI technologies, you can now chat with your fellow astronauts and mission control on Earth using good ol' fashioned voice commands and natural language. No more feeling like you're talking to a robot (even though you kinda are). Who knew that in space, no one can hear you scream, but they can definitely understand you when you say "Hey, computer, can you pass me a space sandwich?"

Data Analysis

There is more to the future of space research than virtually training astronauts and using autonomous spacecraft. Artificial Intelligence is also being used to analyze the vast amount of data that space technology and space applications produce, including spacecraft telemetry and product data. One study carried out under ESA’s Basic Activities inputted historical mission data into Machine Learning (ML) algorithms to search for new features useful for future telemetry checking, command verification and procedure writing processes. Getting data from space and analyzing it is the most significant part of space exploration.


Forget about those boring old books, satellites can tell you everything you need to know about climate change, weather patterns and natural disasters. And hey, you farmers out there, did you know that satellite data can also help you monitor crop yields and soil moisture levels? No more guessing games, just let the satellites do the work! 


But wait, there's more! Space data even has your back when it comes to real estate. Worried about your future beach house getting swallowed by a sinkhole? Never fear, space data is here! It can identify areas prone to flooding or sinkholes, and save you from a soggy disaster. 

As the cost of satellites decreases and their capabilities increase, more and more businesses are jumping on the space data bandwagon.

AI May Even Find Aliens Before We Do

Hey, guess what in a recent article on space.com by Robert Lea discussed how scientists have been using machine learning to hunt for aliens, and they've found eight new potential signals of extraterrestrial life! That's right, our search for other intelligent beings just got a little bit more interesting. 


The team used an algorithm to analyze data collected by the Green Bank Telescope, which is part of a project called Breakthrough Listen. This project is on a mission to find signs of advanced life in the universe, and they're searching through a million nearby stars, 100 nearby galaxies, and even the Milky Way's plane. Talk about ambitious!


And get this - the first author of the study that found the new signals is an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto. It turns out this all started as a high-school project that his teachers didn't really appreciate. Ha, who's laughing now, teachers? 


So, there you have it folks. The search for alien life just got a little bit more exciting, thanks to some clever machine learning and an underestimated high-school project. Who knows what kind of signals we'll find next? You don’t have to be an astronaut to have first alien contact, maybe you’ll just need GPT-4.


Thanks to the wonders of AI, space exploration has become safer, more efficient, and more productive than ever before! From virtual simulation training to AI-trained virtual assistants and natural language processing, technology has revolutionized the way we explore the cosmos. No longer do astronauts have to rely solely on their own wit and grit to navigate the unknown. Now, they have the power of AI on their side, helping them to detect hazards, communicate with ease, and make the most of their mission. Who knows what other wonders AI will bring to space exploration in the future? Maybe we'll even discover space unicorns! (Okay, maybe not that one... yet.)