NASA astronaut in space

NASA is staying up-to-date as they officially appoint their first ever chief artificial intelligence officer.

The independent agency that is well known for its space research announced the news through a press release on Monday (May 13).

A wide variety of AI tools are used by the team already and they say this benefits “humanity” as artificial intelligence is used for supporting missions, analyzing data to reveal trends and patterns, and within research.

David Salvagini will head up the role and is well placed to do so with his experience spanning over 20 years in technology leadership in the intelligence sector.

Before being assigned this new position, he was the chief data officer at NASA when he joined in June 2023.

While the research agency has only just appointed someone to solely oversee the use of AI, they have been using the technology for decades.

NASA and AI: ‘It’s important we remain at the forefront’

NASA Administrator Bell Nelson explained why the need to keep up with the ever-changing technology landscape is important for the team and the role they play in research: “Artificial intelligence has been safely used at NASA for decades, and as this technology expands, it can accelerate the pace of discovery.”

“It’s important that we remain at the forefront of advancement and responsible use. In this new role, David will lead NASA’s efforts to guide our agency’s responsible use of AI in the cosmos and on Earth to benefit all humanity.”

Other use cases of AI at NASA include using it to sift through Earth science imagery to identify areas of interest, as well as searching for data on planets outside the solar system from the James Webb Space Telescope.

The team also uses the advanced technology to schedule communications from the Perseverance Mars rover through the Deep Space Network.

On the official NASA website, the use of AI tools is described as helping the team “automate time-consuming processes like program and project reviews,” streamline decision-making, save resources, and “leverage the full potential of its workforce.”

Featured Image: Photo by NASA on Unsplash

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