Machine learning has been around for decades since the 1950s when scientists started working on computers that simulate human intelligence. But it has been recently when an enormous development of hardware and software in information technology took place in leading countries such as the United States, Germany and Japan and the scope of Machine Learning increased radically.
Some of these applications are used in predictive maintenance and its outgoing industry 4.0, image recognition, recruitment in human resources, medical imaging, purchase, and sale of securities, etc. The solutions offered by AI and Machine Learning are increasingly being implemented in the Space sector preparing for a “future space-age” where the pillar of civilization would be advanced robotics and artificial intelligent systems, probably in what is known as ‘singularity’.
Nowadays, the application of AI is being extensively applied in satellite operations to support the operational mechanisms of large satellite constellations, which covers several elements such as orbit positioning, communication and trajectory management. Alongside this, ML is being used to analyze high-resolution satellite images in order to obtain precise visual representations of the space surrounding the Earth. Hence, Machine Learning is truly an invaluable tool when it comes to the analysis of complex remote sensing and spatial data as well as the processing of data from deep space missions. The German Aerospace Center requested an artificial intelligence assistant to support astronauts in their daily tasks at the International Space Station (ISS). This intelligent voice-controlled assistant, known as CIMON (Crew Interactive Mobile Companion), is capable of multiple functions. Evidently, the reality stands far from the Hollywood-like scenario during the movie “Interstellar” with TARS and the know-it-all robotic auxiliary.
On the other hand, NASA has synchronized its systems with AI-induced communication networks that increase efficiency and accuracy while minimizing noise distortions during telecommunications through satellites used for terrestrial interactions. NASA along with Google developed an exclusive training of artificial intelligence algorithms that allow the analysis of data from the Kepler space mission program, identifying signals from exoplanets, which are planets that exist outside the solar system, leading to the discovery of two new ones that scientists had not previously detected through general, now archaic methods.
The same initiative will now be deployed for observing Earth’s layers in a collaborative project by ESA and NASA called Aida (Artificial Intelligence Data Analysis), which analyzes and processes data from space, reduces margins of error and identifies possible interferences. On a similar note, JAXA, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, has also developed an intelligent system that is onboard the ISS storing images of experiments in the Japanese module, KIBO, developed to provide autonomy of experiments in space while seeking to obtain the best robotic technology necessary for future exploration missions. Roscosmos, the Russian Space Agency, is not far behind either developing two humanoid robots called Fedor, which have been dispatched to the ISS as well. Keeping technological ethics, Artificial Intelligence will generate new markets, new jobs, new products, and services becoming more than a mere threat, where AI will be a great ally for the exploration of our solar system and beyond.
Considering the current status on the Earth, with pollution, climate change, pandemics, poverty, socialization, how decivilization, and a constant decline of psychological well-being, space seems to be our next home. Can we save the Earth? Or does the Earth need salvation from us? Will space suffer the same luck?