Alexa to the moon – Amazon’s digital assistant to travel to space aboard NASA’s Orion spacecraft this year
Amazon Alexawill make history as the first digital assistant to travel to space.
- It will be part of NASA’s Artemis mission to return to the moon.
- An advanced version of Alexa will be able to provide mission-related data to astronauts as well as updates from Earth.
AdvertisementNASA’s return to the moon through the Artemis I mission series is expected to witness many firsts such as the first woman and the first person of color on the lunar surface. Another first would be Amazon Alexa becoming the first digital assistant to travel its space. An advanced version of Alexa will fly aboard NASA’s Orion spacecraft.
NASA in collaboration with engineers from Amazon, Cisco and Lockheed Martin are working on embedding an advanced version of Alexa into the Callisto payload. Alexa will be integrated in custom designed space-grade hardware that is strong enough to withstand the intense shock and vibrations during a launch, and radiation exposure as well.
Amazon has provided far-field voice interactions for Alexa and also tuned its algorithms so that it’s capable of accounting for noise from engines, and other objects inside the cabin.
Alexa in space
Alexa inside Callisto is also designed to work without internet connectivity. Amazon also assures that the digital assistant can bypass the delay of sending information from the moon to Earth and back. Alexa will be able to provide answers to mission-specific questions such as, ““Alexa, how fast is Orion traveling?” or “Alexa, what’s the temperature in the cabin?”
Alexa will also be able to control connected devices inside the spacecraft like in-cabin lighting. Astronauts can also get information from Earth through Alexa such as news briefings and sports scores so that the astronauts are always updated.
“The Star Trek computer was part of our original inspiration for Alexa, so it’s exciting and humbling to see our vision for ambient intelligence come to life on board Orion,” said Aaron Rubenson, Vice President of Alexa Everywhere at Amazon.
Artemis I is the first planned uncrewed test flight of NASA’s Artemis program under which the space agency plans to send astronauts to the moon later this decade. Artemis I is expected to launch in March or April this year.
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