AI can have numerous applications in space technology, from data processing to better decision-making. It may even assist astronauts by monitoring their physiological health during missions or supporting human-robot communication.
Despite its potential advantages, there remain obstacles to be overcome. Companies like Tesla have yet to reach full autonomy, with their Autopilot system still dependent on an experienced driver for input.
Different artificial intelligence (AI) exists. Some are more reactive, while others possess limited memory and can only carry out tasks they’ve been taught how to do.
Machine learning is an AI technique that employs artificial neural networks to process large amounts of data and learn from its patterns. It has become increasingly prevalent in industries such as banking, insurance, and healthcare.
Machine learning is often employed in image analysis, which can be used to detect planets or stars. It may even assist with detecting and predicting extreme solar radiation events.
AI can be applied to a range of space missions, from automated asteroid detection and planning. It may even enhance communication between humans and robots with systems like IBM’s CIMON that help astronauts communicate on space stations.
One of the most significant uses for AI in space is developing autonomous navigation systems on spacecraft that can plan missions automatically. NASA is currently developing an AI-based mission planner which analyzes spacecraft flight parameters and recommends an appropriate course of action.
Some researchers are exploring how AI could be employed to prevent collisions in orbit, as it helps satellites steer away from other spacecraft, saving fuel consumption and minimizing costly damage. This technology has already been tested on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 spacecraft, where AI algorithms predict when a spacecraft might collide with another satellite in orbit, enabling it to avoid such an incident and minimize its effect.
Other space agencies, including ESA, are developing AI-driven technologies to monitor and prevent space debris. These systems can be programmed automatically to avoid debris in flight and disintegrate it at the correct intervals – leading to better resource use and less waste production.
SETI head Robert Diamond believes this could enable the construction of lighter, cheaper spacecraft for future missions. This approach has enormous potential as it saves scientists a great deal of time and money in research.
AI’s capacity for adapting and learning is essential in space exploration. It enables spacecraft to identify common features like weather patterns while distinguishing atypical ones like smoke from volcanic activity.
It could even be employed to develop a “cognitive radio” capable of transmitting data during flight. Combining cognitive computing and machine learning, this device would efficiently and distortion-free handle large amounts of communication traffic.