Mission Control is thrilled to announce the successful launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying our MoonNet payload to the surface of the Moon! This Artificial Intelligence (AI) system is catching a ride on ispace Inc.’s HAKUTO-R mission 1 lander along with the Rashid rover of the Emirates Lunar Mission. Thanks to a $3.04M contribution from the Canadian Space Agency’s Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program, Mission Control, will be the first to demonstrate deep learning AI on the lunar surface.
After traveling for approximately 4 months to the Atlas crater, an impact formation located in the northern part of the visible side of Earth’s Moon, the ispace lander will deploy the Rashid rover. Rashid will capture images of geological features on the lunar terrain and transmit them to the lander and into MoonNet. The output of MoonNet will be transmitted back to Earth and then distributed to science team members using Mission Control’s cloud-based mission operations platform. Mission Control’s Dr. Melissa Battler and Dr. Matthew Cross, and academic partners at Concordia University, University of Winnipeg, Western University and Carleton University, will use that information in support of working to achieve science mission objectives.
Learning how effectively MoonNet can identify geological features, inform operators of potential hazards and support path planning activities will be key to validating the benefits of AI to support future robotic missions.
Exploration is only one of a vast number of applications for AI in space. With this demonstration completed successfully Mission Control will be world leaders in deploying AI on the edge in space and poised to capture an enormous market in everything from on-orbit servicing, to Earth observation to space domain awareness.
Mission Control and outreach partners SmartIce, Pinnguaq, SEDS-Canada and Rocket Women, continue to engage with youth and the general public about this exciting milestone in space exploration. Showing that Canada can lead the world will help inspire the next generation to always keep exploring.