AI And Space Exploration: Current and Future Applications

AI And Space Exploration


Artificial intelligence is used in a wide range of industries today. One particular implementation of AI that has made headlines recently is in relation to space exploration. NASA reports that they have partnered up with Google, IBM, and Intel in order to develop advanced artificial intelligence technologies that would help drive the future of space sciences. 

In this post, we take a closer look at how artificial intelligence will be used to drive the mission to explore space. NASA has already started with these implementations, and we are sure to see several new technologies arise from this partnership in the near future. 

Mission Designing And Planning

One of the main aims of NASA at the moment is to increase the exploration of space. By visiting planets like Mars, NASA is able to gain valuable insight into the surface of the planet and the data collected is used for a vast number of purposes. 

When a new mission is announced, thorough planning is required. A lot of time is spent on the development of the mission plan – and there is no room for error. 

Artificial intelligence is being used to assist with mission design and planning procedures.

Source: YouTube | Age of AI – The space architects of Mars. 

Currently, NASA is in the development phase of an assistant that would provide help with the process of engineering future missions. While still at an early stage, several plans for this assistant have already been discussed. NASA plans to feed data from previous missions in space to the assistant.  Due to the fast processing speeds of artificial intelligence technology, it would be possible for the assistant to scan through all of the information that it was fed and choose the most relevant data to present to engineers and scientists. This would significantly reduce the time spent on searching for the right information – which means mission planning would be faster and the risk of error would be minimized. 

Apart from this technology, NASA has also previously developed an AI assistant named Daphne. This assistant focuses on providing instant feedback on questions and queries related to the Earth. The idea is to make the planning of observation satellite systems for Earth more efficient and faster. 

Also Read: Artificial Intelligence and Urban Design

Assistive Technology For Astronauts

Another area where AI is becoming useful in terms of space exploration lies with assistive technologies that are made specifically for astronauts. A few projects have been announced already, and some are already being tested. Cimon is the latest of these assistive technologies that are now being tested. 

Virtual assistants are installed in spaceships and made available to the astronauts. These systems are able to provide vital information for astronauts during a mission into space. They can offer the astronaut answers should they have queries and also detect any potential hazards that the astronauts need to be aware of. 

Robonaut, another project that is currently in the works, will be used for tasks that would be dangerous for astronauts to do in space. This robotic machine will be equipped with the latest advancements in artificial intelligence. 

Satellite Data Processing

A recent study used artificial intelligence to provide an estimation of wind speed. Meteorological data was collected by satellites and then processed through AI technology. The results were accurate, providing evidence that the technology can be used for processing data from satellites too. 

Satellites observe various regions of the planet and then submit the data to ground offices. This data used to be processed by humans – but it takes a lot of time to filter through all of the data presented. With the use of AI technology, data can be analyzed at significantly faster speeds. 

Space Navigation

AI is now also being used to assist in mapping out planets based on photographs and data previously received. Technologies have been developed that is fed millions of images that were taken by satellites and during previous space exploration missions. The AI technology analyzes all of this data and maps out a planet. This helps to provide improved navigation for future space missions. 

New Planet Identification

While life on another planet has not been found yet, it is known that there are many more planets than we initially thought. NASA is also exploring ways to use artificial intelligence to identify new planets beyond our solar system. 

Data from satellites and previous space missions are used to assist in this process. The AI technology analyzes the data in order to determine where new planets may be detected. Both previously collected information and live data from satellites are used together for planet identification. 


A partnership between NASA and tech giants that specializes in AI allows for the development of advanced technologies. These technologies are being implemented to help with space exploration. NASA is currently looking into methods that would take advantage of AI to assist with the identification of new planets, help astronauts, and analyze data collected from satellites.