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AI Seeks ET: Machine Learning Powers Hunt for Life in the Solar System

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An illustration of how NASA's Dragonfly octocopter drone will land on the surface of Saturn's moon Titan .

U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration software engineers are developing machine-learning algorithms to help sort through mass spectrometer data collected by its spacecraft.

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is testing a pilot artificial intelligence (AI) system for use on a future Mars mission to help scientists decide how to test soil samples and extract the most meaningful data regarding microbial life.

The machine learning AI will be used on Earth to analyze data collected by the ExoMars rover; if successful, a later mission to Saturn's moon Titan could advance the technology to fly a drone through its atmosphere and drill for signs of life.

The Titan mission, scheduled to launch in 2026, will situate probes in hostile environments with less opportunity for sending data back and forth to Earth, necessitating automated astrobiological exploration.

Machine learning AI will be required to make scientific instruments more intelligent for these missions.

From IEEE Spectrum
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