NASA will use an artificial intelligence system on space probes to look for signs of life on Mars and other planets from the next missions. The announcement was made on Thursday (25), during the Goldschmidt Geochemistry conference.

According to the American space agency, the intelligent system will be able to identify geochemical signatures of life in samples taken on the red planet. After this initial work, the equipment will only send the data to the mission control, on Earth, when it finds something really important.

The algorithm has already undergone training that included the analysis of hundreds of rock samples and thousands of radiation wavelengths. And the first results were encouraging, because by processing a spectrum of an unknown compound, he was able to categorize it with up to 94% accuracy, in addition to combining it with samples previously seen 87% of the time.

Now, the goal is to further refine artificial intelligence so that it can be present on the ExoMars mission, launching between 2021 and 2023. NASA also wants to use intelligent space probes in future missions to the moons of Saturn and Jupiter.

Time and money savings

Sending robot data to Mars on Mars costs time and money, overloading the work of astronomers. But that will change with the new system, according to NASA Space Flight Center researcher Eric Lyness.

“By using AI to do an initial analysis of the data after collection, before being sent back to Earth, NASA can optimize what we receive, greatly increasing the scientific value of space missions,” said the scientist.

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As for research leader Victoria Da Poian, the novelty takes a “visionary step in space exploration”, showing that computers can have the same capacity as man to make priority decisions.


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