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Intel Hosts NASA Frontier Development Lab Demo Day for 2018 Research Presentations

A NASA Frontier Development Lab photo shows a crater on the moon. (Credit: NASA Frontier Development Lab)

What’s New: Today Intel hosts the NASA Frontier Development Lab (FDL)* Event Horizon 2018: AI+Space Challenge Review Event (view live webcast) in Santa Clara, California. It concludes an eight-week research program that applies artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to challenges faced in space exploration. For the third year, NASA Ames Research Center*, the SETI Institute* and participating program partners have provided support to ongoing research for interdisciplinary AI approaches, leveraging the latest hardware technology with advanced machine learning tools.

“Artificial intelligence is expected to significantly influence the future of the space industry and power the solutions that create, use and analyze the massive amounts of data generated. The NASA FDL summer program represents an incredible opportunity to take AI applications and implement them across different challenges facing space science and exploration today.”
– Amir Khosrowshahi, vice president and chief technology officer, Artificial Intelligence Products Group, Intel

Why It’s Important: Through its work with FDL, Intel is addressing critical knowledge gaps by using AI to further space exploration and solve problems that can affect life on Earth.

New tools in artificial intelligence are already demonstrating a new paradigm in robotics, data acquisition and analysis, while also driving down the barriers to entry for scientific discovery. FDL’s researcher program participants have implemented AI to predict solar activity, map lunar poles, build 3D shape models of potentially hazardous asteroids, discover uncategorized meteor showers and determine the efficacy of asteroid mitigation strategies.

“This is an exciting time for space science. We have this wonderful new toolbox of AI technologies that allow us to not only optimize and automate, but better predict Space phenomena – and ultimately derive a better understanding,” said James Parr, FDL director.

The Challenge: Since 2017, Intel has been a key partner to FDL, contributing computing resources and AI and data science mentorship. Intel sponsored two Space Resources teams, which used the Intel® Xeon® platform for inference and training, as well as the knowledge of Intel principal engineers:

  • Space Resources Team 1:  Autonomous route planning and cooperative platforms to coordinate routes between a group of lunar rovers and a base station, allowing the rovers to autonomously cooperate in order to complete a mission.
  • Space Resources Team 2: Localization – merging orbital maps with surface perspective imagery to allow NASA engineers to locate a rover on the lunar surface using only imagery. This is necessary since there is no GPS in space. A rover using the team’s algorithm will be able to precisely locate itself by uploading a 360-degree view of its surroundings as four images.

More Challenges: Additional challenges presented during the event include:

  • Astrobiology Challenge 1: Understanding What is Universally Possible for Life
  • Astrobiology Challenge 2: From Biohints to Evidence of Life: Possible Metabolisms within Extraterrestrial Environmental Substrates
  • Exoplanet Challenge: Increase the Efficacy and Yield of Exoplanet Detection from Tess and Codify the Process of AI Derived Discovery
  • Space Weather Challenge 1: Improve Ionospheric Models Using Global Navigation Satellite System Signal Data
  • Space Weather Challenge 2: Predicting Solar Spectral Irradiance from SDO/AIA Observations

What’s Next: At the conclusion of the projects, FDL will open-source research and algorithms, allowing the AI and space communities to leverage work from the eight teams in future space missions.

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