So, how then, is AI and Robotics in space effecting our advancements and reshaping our capabilities?

Despite potentially sounding like pure sci-fi, the use of AI systems to observe, analyse, and explore outer space is nothing new. AI programmes have been used to schedule Hubble Space Telescope observations since 1993, and in 2017, a set of deep neural networks were trained to detect and classify radio signals with 95% accuracy to aid in the search of extra-terrestrial intelligence (

Interstellar communication

In our current times, astronauts communicate with Earth through radio waves. While this works well enough for talking to the International Space Station due it’s low earth orbit, it will not be able to support real-time communication from further distances. To put this into perspective, radio messages from astronauts on the moon take 1.27 seconds to reach the ISS. However, communicating from Mars and beyond will mean that radio messages will take upwards of 13 minutes to send or receive a message (ESA). With the example of the Perseverance above, messages could take anywhere from 5 to 40 minutes to be relayed.

Celestial navigation

The German Aerospace Centre: AI assistants in space

In 2018, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) launched the Crew Interactive Mobile Companion (CIMON). CIMON was the world’s first flying, autonomous astronaut assistant featuring AI. It has also became the new ‘crew member’ on the ISS, demonstrating the cooperation between humans and intelligent machines.

Artificial Intelligence in Space

Clearly, the concept of AI in space is no longer foreign to us, and when we talk about AI applications or the applications of its subsets, in particular machine learning and deep learning, the scope is far beyond what humans might have imagined. Human intelligence needs complementary technology to further understand the intricacies of space, and right now, AI seems to be the best model for serving that purpose.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
The Data Analysis Bureau

The Data Analysis Bureau

We are a Data Science and Data Engineering Innovation Agency specialising in Machine Learning.