How will AI affect Space Exploration?

That’s one small step for robot, one giant leap for space exploration. You may have heard of AI before, but do you know it’s crucial for space exploration? 

What is Artificial Intelligence?

If you have seen sci-fi movies, it is most likely that some of them had super impressive technologies like flying cars or super cool hero suits (like Iron Man’s). Artificial Intelligence will soon help these ideas come to life. For example, flying cars are already being tested in some parts of the world.

In simple terms, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a simulation that allows machines to mimic human intelligence usually through programming. To be able to classify as AI, machines or robots need to be capable of doing tasks that would otherwise need human intelligence. That’s why it’s called Artificial intelligence. AI also includes the ability of a machine to learn or solve problems. 

Why is AI important for Space Exploration?

Space exploration began in the 1950s when U.S.S.R. launched the first ever satellite (Sputnik) to orbit our planet in 1957. As crazy as it may sound, Sputnik satellite already used some kind of Artificial Intelligence (AI). With AI getting more and more advanced it’s already being implemented in most space missions…

Both the Spirit and Opportunity rovers launched in 2003 had an AI system called Autonav that allowed the rovers to “drive” in the surface of Mars by themselves. Mission planning, managing operations, data collection, and navigation systems are just some of the areas that AI is being used on in the field of space exploration.

 One of the main reasons AI is crucial for space exploration is because it allows us to reach distances that humans never could. It also makes space exploration faster, easier, safer, and even more accurate! Due to the fact that machines have no feelings (yet), it allows them to never get nervous during missions that sometimes causes important calculation error for some astronauts.

The Future: A better and safer kind of Space Exploration

In the future, space exploration will become easier, faster, and most importantly safer with the help of Artificial Intelligence. AI-based assistants are already being tested to further help astronauts with daily tasks and safety protocols while on space missions. One of them includes the Robonaut assistant developed by NASA.
Soon AI will allow us to explore the almighty sun with NASA’s Parker Solar Probe that will get less than 4 million miles near sun’s surface by 2024.

Artificial Intelligence has come a long way in space exploration and will expand even more. Who knows, AI may even allow us to live a comfortable life on Mars! What we know today is that AI will definitely improve the capability to explore our universe.


Featured Image from: Shutterstock

Sarah Okalani

A girl who wants to make a difference in the world 🌎

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