Everything is connected. Space Science is that field of science that cherishes interconnections and interrelationships between the living essentials of life and our planet such as the land, ocean and air. It also establishes the theories and practicalities involving the intricate sub-components (water, carbon, rock) that influence the core living essentials of life, which help sustain our Earth and evolve.
From Gmail’s “smart reply” mode to Google’s predictive searches to music recommendations on our favorite music apps, Artificial Intelligence has already dominated our everyday routines. Just imagine, if people on Earth have so much to benefit from AI, how extravagant and helpful would AI be in the scope of Space Science?
When it takes about 22 minutes for radio waves to travel between Mars and Earth, it is important for NASA’s rovers to take decisions on their own, without having to wait for commands from mission control. That is why the driving system of rovers are integrated with an AI system that allows them to figure out the best route and avoid obstacles along the way to arrive at the best possible outcome without the involvement of any human interference in its decision making.
As humans are curious and never want to be alone, they are constantly obsessed with probing every star and planet they can to check for life form. In 2009, NASA launched the Kepler Space Telescope to discover Earth-like planets that orbited around other stars. During its 9.5+ years of service, Kepler observed 530,506 stars and detected 2,662 planets. Impressive!
Similarly, despite being the biggest structures in the cosmos, it is hard to spot galaxy clusters. To help speed up the process of spotting these massive galaxy clusters, Lancaster University researchers are seeking the help of “Deep-CEE” (Deep Learning for Galaxy Cluster Extraction and Evaluation). In another breakthrough, CIMON, the world’s first intelligence-enabled astronaut assistant, is designed to understand not only the question, but the intent behind the question, as its purpose is not just to answer the astronaut’s questions, but also to understand and act upon human interest and intent – an AI-powered companion in the truest sense.
Will an AI system help prevent catastrophic disasters such as the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger and 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia? It is too soon to tell. But is it good to have an AI system that is built to watch your back when you are a home away from home in the deep dark space? Absolutely!