Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UA Scientists Help Create Spacecraft That Think For Themselves

24.06.2004


There’s nothing worse than a satellite that can’t make decisions.

Rather than organizing data, it simply spews out everything it collects, swamping scientists with huge amounts of information. It’s like getting a newspaper with no headlines or section pages in which all the stories are strung together end-to-end.

Researchers at the University of Arizona (UA), Arizona State University (ASU) and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) are working to solve this problem by developing machine-learning and pattern-recognition software. This smart software can be used on all kinds of spacecraft, including orbiters, landers and rovers.



Scientists currently are developing this kind of software for NASA’s EO-1 satellite. The smart software allows the satellite to organize data so it sends back the most timely news first, while holding back less-timely data for later transmission.

Although the project, called the Autonomous Sciencecraft Experiment (ASE), is still in the test and development stage, software created by UA hydrologists has already detected flooding on Australia’s Diamantina River.

"We had ordered some images from the satellite to test our software in the lab," said Felipe Ip, a Ph.D. student in UA’s Hydrology and Water Resources (HWR) Department. "We didn’t know the Diamantina River was flooding, but when we started running the images through our software, it told us, ’Hey, we’ve got a flood here.’ We were delighted because that’s just what it’s supposed to do."

While Ip, under the direction of HWR researchers James Dohm and Victor Baker, is developing the flood-detection software for EO-1, JPL team members are creating similar software to detect volcanic activity and ASU researchers are working on software to find changes in ice fields.

The flood-detection software compares images from the satellite’s cameras with images stored in its computer memory. If the rivers are not flooding and images come close to matching, the satellite remains silent. But if the satellite’s computer finds significant differences, it takes more photos and notifies scientists.

UA hydrologists developed the software by comparing satellite observations with on-site observations at Tucson Water’s 11 recharge basins. The basins are part of the Central Avra Valley Storage and Recovery Project (CAVSARP) west of Tucson.

The basins are filled with water that flows across the desert from the Colorado River to Tucson via the Central Arizona Project canal. The water percolates into the ground where it is stored in a natural underground aquifer. The large basins are routinely dried out so they don’t become sealed like a typical pond or lake.

The next stage of testing comes in July, when the flood-detection software will fly aboard EO-1 in nearly full autonomous mode.

While the short-term goal is to record transient events, such as volcanic eruptions, floods and changes in ice fields on Earth, ASE software will eventually allow scientists to detect, map out, and study similar events throughout the solar system.

This could include activity on Mars that might indicate water produced by springs. On Jupiter’s moons, the software could be used to detect volcanic eruptions on Io or cracking ice sheets on Europa. Scientists also could use the software to study changes in Saturn’s rings or the formation of jets on comets.

"By using smart spacecraft, we won’t miss short-term events such as floods, dust storms, and volcanic eruptions," Ip said. "Finally, instead of sifting through thousands of images, I can actually get some sleep at night, knowing that a smart robot is on alert twenty-four-seven."

The ASE project is funded by NASA’s New Millennium Program, which focuses on testing exciting new technologies in space.

Ed Stiles | University of Arizona
Further information:
http://www.arizona.edu
http://www.u.arizona.edu/~filipe/ASEanimation/
http://www.u.arizona.edu/~filipe/ASEanimation/

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Giving a chip about masa
18.07.2019 | American Society of Agronomy

nachricht Global farming trends threaten food security
11.07.2019 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Better thermal conductivity by adjusting the arrangement of atoms

Adjusting the thermal conductivity of materials is one of the challenges nanoscience is currently facing. Together with colleagues from the Netherlands and Spain, researchers from the University of Basel have shown that the atomic vibrations that determine heat generation in nanowires can be controlled through the arrangement of atoms alone. The scientists will publish the results shortly in the journal Nano Letters.

In the electronics and computer industry, components are becoming ever smaller and more powerful. However, there are problems with the heat generation. It is...

Im Focus: First-ever visualizations of electrical gating effects on electronic structure

Scientists have visualised the electronic structure in a microelectronic device for the first time, opening up opportunities for finely-tuned high performance electronic devices.

Physicists from the University of Warwick and the University of Washington have developed a technique to measure the energy and momentum of electrons in...

Im Focus: Megakaryocytes act as „bouncers“ restraining cell migration in the bone marrow

Scientists at the University Würzburg and University Hospital of Würzburg found that megakaryocytes act as “bouncers” and thus modulate bone marrow niche properties and cell migration dynamics. The study was published in July in the Journal “Haematologica”.

Hematopoiesis is the process of forming blood cells, which occurs predominantly in the bone marrow. The bone marrow produces all types of blood cells: red...

Im Focus: Artificial neural network resolves puzzles from condensed matter physics: Which is the perfect quantum theory?

For some phenomena in quantum many-body physics several competing theories exist. But which of them describes a quantum phenomenon best? A team of researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Harvard University in the United States has now successfully deployed artificial neural networks for image analysis of quantum systems.

Is that a dog or a cat? Such a classification is a prime example of machine learning: artificial neural networks can be trained to analyze images by looking...

Im Focus: Extremely hard yet metallically conductive: Bayreuth researchers develop novel material with high-tech prospects

An international research group led by scientists from the University of Bayreuth has produced a previously unknown material: Rhenium nitride pernitride. Thanks to combining properties that were previously considered incompatible, it looks set to become highly attractive for technological applications. Indeed, it is a super-hard metallic conductor that can withstand extremely high pressures like a diamond. A process now developed in Bayreuth opens up the possibility of producing rhenium nitride pernitride and other technologically interesting materials in sufficiently large quantity for their properties characterisation. The new findings are presented in "Nature Communications".

The possibility of finding a compound that was metallically conductive, super-hard, and ultra-incompressible was long considered unlikely in science. It was...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on UV LED Technologies & Applications – ICULTA 2020 | Call for Abstracts

24.06.2019 | Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Heat flow through single molecules detected

19.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Heat transport through single molecules

19.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Welcome Committee for Comets

19.07.2019 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>