Role of AI in Space Exploration

Role of AI in Space Exploration

Table of Contents

The space sector is booming. We may now travel further into the cosmos to investigate undiscovered regions and perhaps even uncover new phenomena, thanks to enormous technological advancements.

Can AI be utilized for Space Research and Space Exploration? Let’s find out.

Artificial Intelligence has many uses. The technique can be used in a wide range of industries and areas. In this blog, we’ll learn how AI is applied to Space Exploration.

So, without further delay, let’s delve into the Role of AI in Space Exploration.

Key Takeaways 

  • The brief explanation of Space Exploration
  • Role of Artificial Intelligence in Space Research and Exploration 
  • Advancements in Space Research Technologies through AI

What is meant by space exploration?

Sending humans or machines into space to explore other planets, asteroids, and outer space matter is known as Space Exploration. 

For many years, people have fantasized about travelling to other planets, but it wasn’t until 1969 that Neil Armstrong became the first human to step on the Moon.

Numerous satellites have been placed into orbit around the planet since and before he went there, and several humans have been into space on a wide variety of spacecraft. Additionally, we have sent robots to explore more distant solar system objects.

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Role of AI in Space Exploration

Numerous businesses today, including NASA and Google, have already incorporated AI to hunt for new celestial bodies, search for life on other planets, and even streamline astronauts’ tasks while they are in space. 

Below mentioned are the various ways in which AI plays a major role in space applications:

  1. Assistance to Astronauts 
  2. Satellite Data Processing 
  3. Intelligent Navigation System 
  4. Satellite and Spacecraft Development 
  5. Space Debris Removal

Let’s dig a little deeper into all these applications. 

1. Assistance to Astronauts 

Do you recall Tars and Case, the robot assistants from the Interstellar movie? 

While there are currently no robots like this for actual space trips, researchers are working on developing intelligent helpers for astronauts. 

In December 2019, an AI helper – “Cimon”, was transported to the International Space Station (ISS). In the future, Cimon will help astronauts feel less stressed by carrying out the jobs they give it. 

Additionally, NASA is creating a robot dubbed as Robonaut that will operate alongside astronauts on the ISS or perform activities that are too dangerous for them.

2. Satellite Data Processing 

The volume of data that Earth satellites produce is just huge. 

Artificial Intelligence can be used to determine which data sets should be processed on the ground. AI technology can potentially be used to eliminate useless or insignificant data

This might make it easier for space-to-ground networks to transfer heavy data by removing any obstacles or constraints they currently have. 

The ability to examine the vast volumes of data gathered from scientific missions using AI automation and optimize it has a positive effect on how conveniently data is handled and provided to consumers.

3. Intelligent Navigation System 

Google Maps, which utilizes GPS or other navigational technologies, is available to us. While there are no navigational systems in space yet.

However, researchers can make use of satellite-based observational data. Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is one such example (LRO). 

An intelligent navigation system was developed using LRO data in 2018 by NASA and Intel. The program generated a map of the moon using AI.

4. Satellite and Spacecraft Development 

To build satellites and spacecraft, engineers frequently require specialized facilities. Robotics and AI-powered technologies can help with this. 

AI and robotics are used by scientists to reduce their workload. This way, humans can concentrate on things computers can’t perform. 

AI can aid in accelerating the satellite assembly process. 

AI-powered systems can also examine the procedures to find opportunities for improvement.

Cobots, or collaborative robots, are also useful in the design of satellites and spacecraft. Cobots communicate with humans in a shared workspace.

5. Space Debris Removal

How to deal with space debris is one of the main concerns of the 21st century. 

One strategy is to use AI in space technology to prevent any potential collisions in space and the resulting debris.

Another strategy is to build Machine Learning (ML) models using the massive computer technology on Earth. As a result, there is more design flexibility for satellites, yet the risk of an orbital collision is kept to a minimum.

Also read: 7 Different Types Of Artificial Intelligence You Must Know


AI has opened many opportunities for Space Exploration. 

The above-mentioned space applications of Artificial Intelligence are used by scientists and planetary science researchers in space missions and discoveries. 

If you are amazed by outer space and AI technologies and wish to make your career in Space Technology, then you must upskill yourself in Artificial Intelligence.

Also read: Artificial Intelligence And The Future Of Humans

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What are the challenges of AI in outer space?

The major challenges of AI in outer space are as follows:

1. Propulsion Systems and Technical challenges
2. Protection of Humans
3. Earth Environment
4. Low-Cost Space Technologies
5. Large Space Structures
6. In-Orbit Servicing and Active Debris Removal

2. How is AI helping in space exploration?

Artificial Intelligence has a major role in the advancement of space research technologies. The prominent ones are:

1. Assistance to Astronauts 
2. Satellite Data Processing 
3. Intelligent Navigation System 
4. Satellite and Spacecraft Development 
5. Space Debris 

3. What is Planetary Science?

Planetary Science is the study of various planets and their celestial ecosystems, including moons, planetary rings, clouds, and magnetospheres.

4. What does AI mean?

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, in short, refers to the intelligent systems or machines that interpret the outcome through previously analysed data formats.

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