NASA using AI to improve astronaut communications systems in space

Existing communications systems often produce garbled or unintelligible noise, hampering astronauts' ability to talk to one another.
(NASA photo)

The deep, dark void of space is a place you really want your communications systems to work. So NASA is turning to artificial intelligence to improve helmet-to-helmet connections between astronauts in space.

The space agency has long been working to improve spacesuits and the communications systems used to ensure astronauts can talk to each other. But often the links produce “garbled” or non-communicative noise. NASA is looking into how AI can help fix that broken communication, Chief Data Officer Ron Thompson said Wednesday at FedTalks, produced by FedScoop.

“We can use AI to improve our communications between our astronauts in space,” Thompson said, adding that “a lot of communications have to be retransmitted due to garbled or unintelligible transmissions.”

Thompson said the project has heightened importance with new goals to put humans back on the moon, where they could spend extended periods of time in space and need to be able to communicate with each other.


NASA’s chief data officer position is integral to the agency’s AI work, he said. Other AI and data-driven projects Thompson said his office is working on involve human resources, like resume-reading and pattern recognition to identify potential job candidates. By storing and using the data of past successful resumes, NASA is able to use AI to train and hone in on quality applicants faster than human-reviewers could.

“There is a utility for enhancing a lot of the manual processes for how we work,” Thompson said.

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