Because of the high costs and risks of space travel, NASA engineers tend to stick with what works. That means using tried and tested materials like titanium and aluminum. Men traditionelle design og materialer er ofte tungt – og i et felt hvor hvert gram betyder noget, betyder det at du skal bruge flere sensorer og instrumenter. Two push lander designs in new directions, Autodesk is turning to its machine learning technology to iterate faster than it might otherwise be able to.
Autodesk calls this new process “generative design,” or design that uses machine intelligence and cloud computing that Skaper et bredt sett av løsninger baseret på begrænsninger fra ingeniører. Autodesk has used this system, available on its Fusion 360 software, in Formula1
racing. Generative design, according to Autodesk, allows engineers to turn around design solutions in as little as two to four weeks, much faster than the standard two to four months. Either way, Autodesk is hoping its design technology will help JPL put a lander on the moons of Jupiter or Saturn, paving the way for human settlements. (Whether this happens in our lifetime is another question altogether.)
That’s not to say that this would be the first time humans have explored Jupiter or Saturn. In October of 1997, NASA, samen met de European Space Agency (ESA) en de Italiaanse Space Agency (ASI), lanceerde de Cassini-Huygens probe om Saturn te bestuderen. It took the probe six years and 261 days to reach the ringed planet, but the photos sent back were remarkable. It was on September 15th, 2017 that NASA suffered contact with Cassini. And currently, the Juno probe is orbiting Jupiter, and has given us insight as to what’s going on inside the gas giant. To reach moons of Saturn and Jupiter, around 365-million and 746-million miles away depending on the orbit respectively, will always prove to be challenging, but any headway that NASA can make would be welcome if it means the potential for human settlement out in our solar system.