After nearly four years of deployment, the Curiosity rover mission launched by NASA is reportedly making scientific decisions on its own with the help of AEGIS software. According to reports, the Martian explorer integrated with the Curiosity rover mission currently fetches few rock targets to collide with the laser on its ChemCam instrument with the assistance from AEGIS.
Commenting on the discovery, a NASA spokesperson revealed that a new software upgrade codenamed as AEGIS enables the rover to make important decisions on its own.
However, this transition happens when Mars is out of sync with Curiosity’s platform at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and will deliver more data in less time. Furthermore, this is the first time a robot has been able to pick relevant science related targets on their own on any planetary mission.
Time spent on Mars is very valuable and if we get the great amount of data like this, we will be able to fetch more data much faster than before, adds Raymond Francis who worked with the AEGIS team and a scientific software engineer at JPL.
Earlier, the relevant software was employed by NASA’s Opportunity rover for another purpose such as selection of targets to properly capture an image with a narrow-angle snapper.
NASA has also installed a wide range of Artificial Intelligence on the several satellites and rovers to study various parameters for practical purposes. While one type enables Curiosity to navigate across a rocky and debris-filled landscape, another type is used by spacecrafts to manage their onboard navigation systems automatically.
The newly-released AEGIS software enables the rover to locate the laser at really small targets with great accuracy, which is not possible with a human handler from within the control room at JPL. AEGIS is capable of successfully hitting any small tiny feature so that you need not have to try again later.
Even though experts have raised suspicion about the technique of laser-shooting space robot with AI, it is a very healthy and excellent practice to identify rocks based on visual clues. Francis clarified that the method employed by AL is basic and limited in scope.