NASA will be launching with Amazon's Alexa in early 2022. Amazon and Lockheed Martin have teamed up for a technology demonstration called Callisto that will take place on NASA's Orion spacecraft during its Artemis I mission, according to Amazon.
During the mission, which aims to employ technology that could be used on future journeys into space, the firms will conduct tests that might be useful on other missions. Amazon announced that the integration of Alexa into the spacecraft will explore how astronauts aboard may communicate with an artificial intelligence (AI) or smart assistant during critical mission phases, such as launch and docking.
“NASA is working to build a future where humans are out exploring the solar system not just for days or weeks, but months and years at a time, eventually traveling to Mars for an extended stay,” Amazon Alexa Vice President Rob Pulciani said in a statement. “So we ask ourselves, what can we do now that will make those long journeys more comfortable and productive for the astronauts who will be spending years in space? The short answer: Voice.”
Pulciani said it could also lead to a greater level of autonomy and decision-making abilities for crew members during their time in space.
NASA said that the technology demonstration will involve a commercially-developed, crew-operated robot called CIMON (Crew Interactive Mobile Companion), which was designed for use on the International Space Station and is initially being tested with German astronaut Alexander Gerst.
The announcement follows an agreement made between NASA and Boeing in 2018 to ensure potential safety issues with the launch of astronauts from United States soil are ironed out before the space agency allows any private-sector companies to offer commercial services like rendering flight crew operations.Since taking office in 2017, President Donald Trump has made it clear that his administration would work toward sending astronauts back to the Moon by 2024 and eventually onto Mars. However, reports have emerged that question the validity of Trump’s plan by pointing out that NASA currently has no rockets capable of taking humans into space, let alone to Mars.