NASA to use AI for better interspace communication

Dec. 12, 2017, 2:30 p.m. By: Pranjal

space station

Artificial Intelligence has been on the rise ever since its introduction. You must have heard about AI being used in sectors like cloud computing, robotics and many more. But, NASA has decided to move one step further and implement AI for interspace communication. They believe that AI could better manage the communication between spacecraft and the Earth.

Common spacecraft from NASA relies on human-controlled radio systems to communicate with Earth. But, NASA has decided to use the concept of Cognitive Radio for interspace communication. Cognitive radio is a fusion of artificial intelligence into space communications networks and could increase the efficiency.

Janette C Briones (member of NASA's Glenn Research Center in the US) said,” Modern space communications systems use complex software to support science and exploration missions. By using AI and machine learning, satellites control these systems seamlessly and could make real-time decisions.”

Currently, some specific sections of the electromagnetic spectrum are used for communications to various users. But, such channels are limited in number and can cause a bottleneck when we increase the complexity or the number of users. Whereas, Cognitive Radio use artificial intelligence to employ underutilized portions of the electromagnetic spectrum without human intervention. One of the biggest advantages of Cognitive Radio is that it can use the frequency while unused by its primary user until the user becomes active again. Cognitive radio switches from one white space to another as they become available.


Regarding Cognitive Radio, Janette C Briones said,” The recent development of cognitive technologies is a new thrust in the architecture of communications systems. These technologies will make our communications networks more efficient and resilient for missions exploring the depths of space. This would increase the efficiency, autonomy, and reliability of space communications systems.”

The use of Cognitive Radio will solve many issues like space weather detection. Also, electromagnetic radiation emitted by the sun and other celestial bodies disturbs the signal from space to earth which will not happen with the use Cognitive Radio. Cognitive Radio will transmit outside the range of the interference or cancel distortions within the range using machine learning.

NASA also believes that in future Cognitive Radio could earn to shut itself down temporarily to mitigate radiation damage during severe space weather events. Well, these may be the future possibilities but it certainly is big positive in terms of communication sector. We might be able to know few more interesting things about the space, which is still a big mystery for us. We might know what we end up finding!!