The Role of Artificial Intelligence in India’s Chandrayaan-3 Lunar Landing Mission
The Chandrayaan-3 mission by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is set to test the capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) in guiding a spacecraft’s descent to the moon’s surface. The mission, which has been in planning and preparation for years, is a high-stakes endeavor that will determine the success of India’s lunar landing.
During the landing process, mission control at the ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) will monitor the spacecraft’s descent with a mix of anticipation and trepidation. However, their involvement during the 15-minute descent phase is limited, as the intricacies of the landing process are governed by pre-programmed computer logic embedded within the lander’s systems.
The success of the Chandrayaan-3 mission relies on the autonomous systems and advanced AI-powered sensors aboard the spacecraft. These sensors, including velocimeters and altimeters, provide crucial data about the lander’s position, speed, and altitude. Cameras, such as hazard avoidance cameras and inertia-based cameras, capture visual information that is harmonized using a sophisticated computer algorithm, creating a composite image of the lander’s location.
The spacecraft also boasts an intelligent navigation, guidance, and control system that takes charge of its movements. This AI system is designed to manage diverse scenarios and meticulously plans for every conceivable outcome.
One of the key moments during the descent phase is a decisive choice faced by the lander’s AI at a mere 150 meters from the lunar terrain – whether to proceed with a vertical landing or opt for lateral movement of up to 150 meters to avoid potential obstacles.
The Chandrayaan-3 mission demonstrates the adaptability and real-time response of AI in handling challenges and ensuring precision during each phase of descent. Even in the face of sensor failures or setbacks, the lander’s propulsion system alone can ensure a successful landing.
In conclusion, the Chandrayaan-3 mission showcases the pivotal role of AI in space exploration, with the spacecraft relying on AI-driven sensors and an intelligent navigation system to safely land on the moon’s surface.
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