Research, Technology

Artificial intelligence will soon appear on the moon. What will he do?

For several years now, artificial intelligencesurprises us with his abilities. Everyone already knows very well that he does an excellent job with drawing and has been using this opportunity for a long time - here is a selection of the most beautiful paintings. But did you know that artificial intelligence is also actively used in astronomy? In 2020, for example, he helped scientists discover a dozen potentially dangerous asteroids for the Earth. Soon artificial intelligence will be used to study the moon, and this is not just a loud statement. In December 2022, the Arab Rashid lunar rover was sent towards the earth satellite, which is equipped with a system for recognizing stones and craters. Thanks to it, scientists will be able not to waste time on useless objects and concentrate only on what interests them.

Arabian moon rover Rashid

Rashid rover mission from UAE

Arab lunar rover Rashid was sent into space on 11December on a Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX. It is located on the Japanese ispace lander and should land on the surface of the lunar crater Atlas as early as April 2023. The device weighs 10 kilograms and is designed to operate during one lunar day, which lasts 29 Earth days. This means that the Rashid Arab mission will not last long and after completing all the tasks, the device will remain lifeless in the desert.

The photo shows that the size of the Rashid lunar rover is small

The main task of the Rashid lunar rover is tosearch for minerals. To do this, it is equipped with high-resolution cameras, a microscope, a thermal imager and a Langmuir probe - this is an instrument for studying plasma. Many other spacecraft are equipped with such tools, so this set will not surprise anyone. But Rashid has one important difference from other lunar rovers - it was the first to be equipped with an artificial intelligence system.

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Artificial intelligence to study the moon

The developer of this system is the CanadianMission Control Space Services (MCSS). Her job will be to study "every pixel" in the images sent by the ispace lander. In photographs, he will detect only those objects that are of interest to scientists - for example, only craters and large stones. As a result, images will be sent to Earth only with objects important for research, which will save both spacecraft energy and time. Based on the data obtained, scientists from Canada will decide in which direction the lunar rover should move.

Thanks to MCSS artificial intelligence, the Rashid rover will only go where there is something interesting

According to representatives of the company MCSS, previously noone artificial intelligence system never made it beyond Earth orbit. Space Mission Control Director-General Ewan Reid noted that if the technology performs well on the Moon, it could be repurposed for other missions in the future. For example, artificial intelligence will be able to search for clouds or other interesting objects on distant planets. There is also a more mundane use case - the system can detect ships in the seas and oceans that sail without permission.

We see huge opportunities for deployment of artificial intelligence on periphery — Evan Reid concluded.

Canadian technology in space

It is worth noting that Canada contributes to spaceindustry is a very tangible contribution. For example, engineers from the Canadian Space Agency have developed several Canadarm manipulators. The first generation of robotic arms were used on the American Space Shuttle to move cargo in space. A newer robotic arm, Canadarm2, is now located on the outer part of the ISS and helps astronauts work in outer space. It still works great even though space debris got into it in 2021 - thermal blankets were damaged, but this did not affect performance.

Canadarm2 robotic arm and astronaut

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In the end, it should be noted that the Arab moon roverRashid was supposed to go into space only in 2024. However, due to the rapid pace of development, it was decided to launch it two years earlier. Initially, little was known about the lunar rover, but there were plenty of interesting facts about the ispace lander. For example, we already knew that it will receive energy not only from solar panels - it will be equipped with a battery from the Japanese company NGK Spark Plug. By sending the battery into space, scientists want to make sure it is suitable for use in this kind of apparatus. You can read other interesting details about the Rashid mission in this material.