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The future of space-related technology is unlimited, even though the technology is still in proof-of-concept stages. Organizations have created mechanisms for robotics and AI in space exploration, but the technology has room to grow before it will lead the way to new discoveries.
Space organizations have successfully sent landers and probes to Mars and the far reaches of the galaxy, but they haven't given them the ability to make their own decisions. The robots can't decide where to explore on a planet or where to go as they move through space. With AI in space exploration, it will be possible for a lander or probe to deploy sensors and track the resulting data using an IoT network. AI in space will make choices about further exploration while sending collected data to a ground station. The ground station can still redirect the robotic vehicle from the path it has selected, but the AI should reach a point where its decision meets the ground station team's expectations. AI applications mean that the time delays in communications between earth and AI in space would no longer hinder the ability of the technology to make decisions using the collected data.
For satellite operations, AI could improve performance with the ability to reconfigure the process to accept inputs from varying sensors, rather than waiting for external commands to adjust.
Similar to manufacturing developments with collaborative robots (cobots), IT pros will create the same relationship with AI in space exploration. Cobots will limit the risk to human crews when taking initial steps on planets, asteroids and moons, and the ground station team can still direct the cobots' actions. For any young person growing up with voice-controlled devices, the HAL computer of the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey would not seem as impossible as it did when it first came out in 1968. The new generations will be comfortable interacting with machines and expect feedback and the ability to respond to requests. Increase the scope of AI and machine learning and you have new partners for space exploration.
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