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The artificial intelligence will decide how to land on Mars

The ship Orion MPCV (Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle), which NASA has spent years developing in collaboration with the European Space Agency, is designed to carry astronauts to Mars. Probably its construction would not have undertaken or would have been made very differently if it were not for the current capacity of analyzing large amounts of data. This topic has been spoken aerospace engineer, Patrick E. Rodi, who knows about Orion, because he has worked since 2007 on the project of the hand of Lockheed Martin, whom NASA awarded the contract.

In the framework of the event, Big Data Spain, held in Madrid, the engineer explained that every time we produce more information in the field of aerospace. The search for exoplanets the telescope Kepler satellites that auscultan the Earth generated an immense amount of data that “could not have processed 20 or 30 years ago”.

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But the data analysis goes beyond a study of reposado. Also you need to make decisions in real-time. Rodi gives the example of the future landing on Mars a manned mission. The ship is about to surface, and the scans to gather data. “You have to photograph the area, analyze the information and let the artificial intelligence take the decision: if the situation is conducive to land there or looking for another place,” he says. “To do this quickly and with a sufficient precision we have to employ concepts of big data”.

After more than two decades in the demanding aerospace industry, Rodi has just taken a position as a professor of Mechanical Engineering at Rice University, in Texas. Now you see things from a background, but I guess the deep interest for the next milestones in space and, in particular, by the destination program, to which he has dedicated part of his career. “I think that's the biggest thing with Orion is that it is about to jump out of the orbit of the earth. It is a capacity. We may go to asteroids, go to the Moon and, with improvements, we will be able to get to Mars”.

The key Kingbetting of the spaceship Orion is that it will bring you back to the crew on missions of high speed. In contrast, the vehicle CST 100 of Boeing, and the capsule, Dragon, SpaceX, are not prepared technically for the return (Elon Musk decided last year to develop another spacecraft to land on Mars).

Although the private sector has been infatuated red planet. Elon Musk and his SpaceX are the epitome of these aspirations. Very possible according to Rodi, whenever you put money. “There is capital out there to do this. And if there are investors who decide that they want to do so the money may appear”.

For NASA, however, ended up the times to run it. Not left to compete with the USSR in order to compete with the private sector. Today your priority is to go step by step and at all times to protect the crew. “The NASA of today would not do many of the things that the Apollo 11 mission made,” says Rodi, in reference to the great risks that were taken with the mythical expedition of Neil Armstrong reached the Moon.

The importance of the colonies

Now what is at stake is not the political status. Orion will be a ship prepared to go beyond the Earth for scientific interest. Although with a tinge linked with the human survival, according to Rodi. "I think that it is important that we leave the planet and establish colonies in other places in the solar system. And, in the future, from other sites in the galaxy,” says the former Lockheed Martin. “With the time an asteroid could hit the Earth or we ourselves can destrozarla, either through war or pollution."

The big problem with these challenges are the distances. There is research in the field of relativity numerical, on the basis of the Theory of Relativity of Einstein, devoted to exploit their rules to travel faster than light. But for the moment, a search is empty. The trip manned Mars fits into the framework more tangible. And the technology that will be developed can be applied to purposes more linked to the Earth, as the study of climate change.

Orion could influence even in the transport. "Data for atmospheric re-entry at high speed and all the models that we have been developing can be applied to vehicles hypersonically," says the aerospace engineer, who has dedicated part of its work to the speed hipersónica (above Mach 5 or 6,150 km/h). Thanks to the ambition by setting foot on Mars, the jets and planes hypersonically will be closer. Most of what people believe, according to the optimism of Rodi, who would like to view the article in 10 or 15 years, while acknowledging that it is more realistic to think in a term of 15 to 20 years.

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