NASA’s next Mars rover will use AI to be a better science partner

The Mars 2020 rover will likely carry artificial intelligence software to help manage the science workload.

Enlarge / The Mars 2020 rover will likely carry artificial intelligence software to help manage the science workload. (credit: NASA)

Welcome to Ars UNITE, our week-long virtual conference on the ways that innovation brings unusual pairings together. Each day this week from Wednesday through Friday, we’re bringing you a pair of stories about facing the future. Today’s focus is on AI in manufacturing and space—stand by to blast off!

NASA can’t yet put a scientist on Mars. But in its next rover mission to the red planet, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is hoping to use artificial intelligence to at least put the equivalent of a talented research assistant there. Steve Chien, head of the AI Group at NASA JPL, envisions working with the Mars 2020 Rover “much more like [how] you would interact with a graduate

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