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NASA to Use Cloud Computing Alexa-Enabled Robot for Mission to Mars in 2020

Dec 01, 2016 04:09 AM EST
Press Conference At The Jet Propulsion Lab In Pasadena, California
NASA will use cloud computing to be able to land another spacecraft to Mars in 2020.
(Photo : Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)

Can computing contribute to space exploration? NASA seems to think so as the agency is reportedly developing an Alexa-enabled robot for its mission to Mars in 2020.

The new robot system was announced during the "Amazon Web Services (AWS) re:Invent" conference in Las Vegas. During a session with James Hamilton, a NASA official revealed more details about the Alexa-enabled robot and its participation in NASA's mission especially the mission to Mars in 2020.

"We now have technologies, new partnerships coming in, and it's going to be an exciting time," Tom Soderstrom, IT chief technology officer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) said during the conference, E27 reports.

During the session, Soderstrom also discussed how cloud computing will help NASA return to Mars in 2020. The agency plans to land another spacecraft on the surface of Mars in the said year.

This delicate procedure requires exact calculations and computer algorithm. A slight miscalculation will result into a technical glitch that can sabotage the whole mission just like what happened to ESA's Schiaparelli lander that suffered from a miscalculation in its navigational system causing the spacecraft to crash.

The new prototype explorer is called ROV-E, that will be more advanced and more intelligent than previous instruments and robots to reach the red planet. It will have better wheels and communication systems that will record sounds on Mars. It can also drill and dig as well provide oxygen if ever another Martian will get stranded on Mars in the near future.

ROV-E can be controlled by a joystick with voice-enabled virtual assistant Alex. "It's speeding up how we work, how we test, how we fuse," Soderstrom also said during the conference.

ROV-E will also pave the way for the public to experience space exploration, as it will be publicly available for schools and universities. NASA wants everyone to be "future explorers".

Cloud computing is vital in terms of data transfer of information gathered by the missions. It will also speed up data transfers especially the heavier load like NASA missions that transfers 100 terabytes of files every day, according to Geekwire.

The agency also believes that it is ushering in the future of space technology that will be largely influenced by cloud computing like the Alexa-enabled robots.

 

 

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