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Japan's space agency considers using rockets with artificial intelligence

Japan's space agency considers using rockets with artificial intelligence
Donald Melanson
Donald Melanson|@donmelanson|March 23, 2011 12:13 AM
The keyword here is obviously "considers," but it looks like Japan's space agency, JAXA, is indeed seriously thinking about using artificial intelligence to improve their rocket launches. As JAXA scientist Yasuhiro Morita explains, as opposed to simply being "automatic" as rockets are today, an "artificially intelligent" rocket would be able to keep watch on its condition, determine the cause of any malfunction, and potentially even fix it itself. According to JAXA, that would not only make rocket launches more efficient, but more cost-effective as well given the reduced manpower needs. That's not the only new measure being explored to cut costs, though -- as Space.com reports, JAXA's new Epsilon launch vehicle is also being built using fewer, but more advanced components, which promises to let it be moved to the launch pad nearly fully assembled. It's currently set to launch sometime in 2013, although it's not yet clear how much it will actually be relying on AI if such a system is put in place.
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