The Mars data repository could serve several purposes, noted Annie Didier of JPL, who worked on the Perseverance version of AI4Mars. “With this algorithm, the rover could automatically select scientific targets to move towards,” she said. It could also store a variety of images on board the rover and then return only images of specific features that are of interest to scientists, she said.
It is on the horizon; However, scientists may not have to wait that long for the algorithm to benefit them. Before the algorithm hits space, it could be used to scan NASA’s vast public archive of data from Mars, making it easier for researchers to find surface features in those images.
Ono noted that it’s important for the AI4Mars team to make their own dataset publicly available so that the entire data science community can benefit.
“If someone outside of JPL creates an algorithm that works better than ours using our dataset, that’s also great,” he said. “It just makes more discoveries easier. “
Learn more about the mission
A key focus of Perseverance’s mission to Mars is astrobiology, including looking for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the past geology and climate of the planet, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (shattered rock and dust).
Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA (European Space Agency), would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples on the surface and return them to Earth for further analysis.
The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA’s approach to exploring the Moon to Mars, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.
JPL, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, Calif., Built and manages the operations of the Perseverance rover.
To find out more about Perseverance: