In this short article we will propose a range of potentials applications of AI for space exploration. We will focus on integrating this tool into spacesuits for space and ground expeditions.
Going back to the moon: The soon-to-be project of going back to the moon in 2024 lead by NASA's Artemis program will assemble an international team of space agencies: ESA (Europe), Rocosmos (Russia), CSA (Canada), ISRO (India), JAXA (Japan). For this occasion, a new generation of spacesuits will be developed.
Research projects to integrate an exoskeleton in spacesuits: NASA's X1 project plan to use an exoskeleton for the benefit of astronauts as well as people with paralysis. The NASA's Armstrong arm is an impressive example of application.
We will divide AI exploitation for spacesuits in three parts: general uses, outer space uses, and ground based uses.
General uses: An artificial intelligence could be integrated to each spacesuit to help passing through emergency scenarios. For example, by observing vital signs, facial expressions, or voice modulations, to detect stress, anxiety, tiredness, or fear. This way it could help through a personalized approach to handle such emotions, preventing an aggravation of the situation in case of emergency.
Outer space uses: Added to the general uses, an AI could be integrated into spacesuits for:
Helping astronauts for high precision gestures if there's a exoskeleton part in the spacesuit (such as in the current X1 project).
Controlling the spacesuit to get back to the base in case of emergency, for example by expelling a part of the pressurized air to move in space.
Ground uses: In case of Lunar of Martian exploration, an artificial intelligence could be integrated into spacesuits for these objectives:
Assisting astronauts for gestures requiring a high level of precision through the exoskeleton (e.g. screwing on something).
Controlling the spacesuit's exoskeleton in case of emergency to bring the astronaut back to the base.
Open to thoughts:
Some of theses ideas and applications requirements may be hard to develop (e.g. adaptating an exoskeleton to lunar dust), but the potential safety gain could be really helpful. The underlying idea is to give astronauts much tools to ensure their survival in space.
Potentially, this could also be useful for marine exploration or the health domain.