Artificial Intelligence: Powering Human Exploration of the Moon and Mars

10/07/2019 ∙ by Jeremy D. Frank, et al. ∙ 51

Over the past decade, the NASA Autonomous Systems and Operations (ASO) project has developed and demonstrated numerous autonomy enabling technologies employing AI techniques. Our work has employed AI in three distinct ways to enable autonomous mission operations capabilities. Crew Autonomy gives astronauts tools to assist in the performance of each of these mission operations functions. Vehicle System Management uses AI techniques to turn the astronaut's spacecraft into a robot, allowing it to operate when astronauts are not present, or to reduce astronaut workload. AI technology also enables Autonomous Robots as crew assistants or proxies when the crew are not present. We first describe human spaceflight mission operations capabilities. We then describe the ASO project, and the development and demonstration performed by ASO since 2011. We will describe the AI techniques behind each of these demonstrations, which include a variety of symbolic automated reasoning and machine learning based approaches. Finally, we conclude with an assessment of future development needs for AI to enable NASA's future Exploration missions.

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