The Mars Curiosity rover is equipped with AI technology that selects research targets. | NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
Exploration

NASA Has Big Plans for AI on Mars and Beyond

Artificial intelligence already aids the agency’s research on Earth and the Red Planet, but scientists see great potential in expanding the role of AI, especially in deep space.

Published On 08/11/2017
8:07 PM EDT
I I magine an interstellar probe where the spacecraft can pick its own orbit, take its own pictures, and send probes down to the surface of a far-away planet without human help. Or imagine a mission that hitchhikes on a comet, scanning the sky and picking out the most interesting targets among millions of locations without guidance from engineers back on Earth sitting in a control room.
Opportunity rover | NASA/JPL/Caltech
This artist's rendering shows NASA's Europa mission spacecraft, which is being developed for a launch sometime in the 2020s. | NASA/JPL/Caltech
Breakthrough Starshot is a $100 million research and development program, aiming to establish proof of concept for a ‘nanocraft’ – a fully functional space probe at gram-scale weight – driven by a light beam.