News of the WeekSpace Science

NASA Craft to Take the Controls in Flight

Science  23 Oct 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5389, pp. 604-605
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5389.604b

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Summary

TOKYO-- NASA's Deep Space 1 mission, scheduled for launch tomorrow, will carry out the closest flyby ever attempted of a solar system body. But what's really special about the mission, which begins a series of flights testing new technologies, is the onboard software that will, for the first time, assume complete control of the spacecraft. Computer scientists say it's a step toward a real-life HAL 9000, the fictional cyber-character in Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Its success, they add, would be a boon to future deep-space probes and to the field of artificial intelligence.

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