When NASA’s Orion spacecraft takes off on its unmanned lunar mission Artemis this year, it will have its own Alexa voice assistant and Webex video conferencing technology. They will be installed in a Lockheed Martin demonstration package called Callisto.
The last time astronauts visited the moon, each of their spacecraft had a single computer that was hundreds of times slower and had tens of thousands of times less memory than a pocket calculator in 2000. NewAtlas.
But now Callisto will change the picture by introducing the convenience of digital displays and touch screens, voice assistants and video calls. The electronics in the ship will be specially strengthened against vibration and radiation, and Alexa will have added algorithms to deal with noise from engines and pumps, as well as the echo of metal surfaces in the cabin. The Webex video conferencing system will work in a similar way.
Callisto will allow astronaut crews to communicate with Earth, retrieve information and control paired devices via voice command. As there is a two-second delay in the transmission of signals between the Earth and the Moon and due to the unreliable nature of communications in space, the initiative involves more than installing Alexa and Webex in the spacecraft. Instead, Alexa will need to be able to work on its own while not in contact with the major Internet databases on which its terrestrial version depends.
In addition, engineers from partner companies are developing virtual enhancements for the ground crew at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. This will allow operators to interact with Calisto from the Mission Management Center and provide access to flight status and telemetry data.
In addition, Calisto will allow the public to follow the mission through Alexa-enabled devices, and Webex will provide access for STEM teachers and distance learning events in the classroom. In addition, the technology will allow astronauts to retrieve information from the Internet and keep in touch with their families.