NASA will now let you navigate Mars online. But, this will not only be for entertainment. In fact, you will be contributing to the world’s first open-source navigation classification dataset. The space organization just launched the new AI4Mars program which allows anyone with a computer to help navigate Curiosity rover across the surface of Red Planet. This is very much similar to the previously run Mars simulation program by NASA.
NASA encourages people from all over the world to take part in this program as it will be beneficial for both parties. On one hand, you will get to know a lot about space and Mars. On the other, NASA will have access to one of the richest data set for navigation purposes. All their rovers can safely traverse the planet without any problem.
You may be able to help @MarsCuriosity drivers better navigate #Mars. Using the online tool #AI4Mars to label terrain features in downloaded pictures downloaded, you can train an artificial intelligence algorithm to automatically read the landscape. https://t.co/fkS2zYvh7Q pic.twitter.com/Jl8EYigNNP
— The SETI Institute (@SETIInstitute) June 15, 2020
NASA Mars navigation virtual program: AI4Mars
The newly launched VR program is very different from your normal VR/AR applications. NASA will not let you steer the actual Curiosity rover on the red planet. However, you will be labeling the various parts of the terrain that the rover will come across. This includes everything from rocks, soils, fossils, sand, dust, and all other features. You may even get lucky and be able to spot alien life on Mars.
Your labels will be fed into a database along with observations from others using the same tool. After crunching all the data, the program should have a consensus on what the rover is seeing. This will help NASA’s Curiosity team and the rover itself to better understand what it sees.
You’ll be using your superior cognitive and artistic abilities to label images from the Curiosity Rover, collectively creating the first open-source navigation-classification dataset of the Red Planet. Let us know what you think of this in the comments section below! Also, do not forget to join us on our Telegram Channel for instant updates of the science and tech world.
Suryapratim Ray is an engineer, author, robotics hobbyist, and an active Quoran. Being a technical blogger, he covers the good, bad, and ugly of science on a regular basis at Sciencenews18. In addition to his passion for writing, he’s equally keen on learning classical music.