back to article Here's a headline we'll run this century, mark our words: Alien invaders' AI found on Mars searching for signs of life

NASA is developing a Mars rover AI system that can sift through sensor data for signs of life on the Red Planet – and send relevant readings to Earth all by itself. A team led by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center devised the machine-learning algorithms as part of a proof-of-concept study to show a future Martian trundle bot …

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  1. Jurassic Hermit

    There’s more chance of finding intelligent life on Mars than on present day Earth.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      An Expanding Existential Crisis Option ...

      There’s more chance of finding intelligent life on Mars than on present day Earth. ..... Jurassic Hermit

      One could also ask, Jurassic Hermit, if there is a greater chance of finding intelligent Martian life on present day Earth? And would such a discovery be terrifying and terrorising or engaging and enlightening?

      1. Paul Kinsler

        Re: a greater chance of finding intelligent Martian life on present day Earth?

        I'll be sure to ask Quatermass when he next gets out of that Pit...

        1. Bernard M. Orwell
          Alien

          Re: a greater chance of finding intelligent Martian life on present day Earth?

          Bah! The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one!

          1. Toni the terrible

            Re: a greater chance of finding intelligent Martian life on present day Earth?

            A million to one event occurs 9 times out of 10

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Cliff Thorburn

        Re: An Expanding Existential Crisis Option ...

        The only thing that differentiates all life on earth is intelligence.

        Alien life on earth however would neither be able to fathom the logic of Brexit, or Populism.

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Re: An Expanding Existential Crisis Option ...

          Alien life on earth however would neither be able to fathom the logic of Brexit, or Populism. ..... Cliff Thorburn

          One must surely then correctly imagine and conclude they would realise the intelligence used to justify and support such movements as being illogical ...... with its leading voices and back-office wannabe emperors and empresses* unworthy of direct and/or exclusive smarter future alien engagement whenever earthed parties are firmly stuck in that very particular and peculiar self-defeating rut.

          What happens then, logically, is others lead with smarter forces drivering from different spaces unavailable to failed established status quo sources for whenever intelligence abhors a vacuum, such is only natural and therefore fully to be expected ‽ .

          * aka mass media puppets and their deep dark web networking state and non-state actor controllers?

          1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

            Re: An Expanding Existential Crisis Option ...

            And as for those others following and leading, .... perhaps deeply involved and heavily into the leading and/or trailing and trialing of daily 0day events with all manner of matters presented for/with assorted super-talented weirdos and misfits with odd skills to exercise in/with masterly commands with/in exquisite controls.

            Done extra especially well, IT Renders Practically Almighty Invincible Power with Inexhaustible Invisible Energy to Future Dedicated Servers of Almighty Invincible Services.

            Do you think you know if Boris and the Gang would be able to fcuk up any of that should it be easily made immediately readily available for them to explore and exercise/employ and enrich??

            And yes, that is a real live serious question of current extant government forces with more than just basic intelligence sources for such an advantage is always for sale and/or purchase and Lead-Lease ACTion, and it would be a crying shame and not at all right to not freely avail them of the opportunities open to them to invest in with public resources and private know-how before very similar offerings to many who may reside further abroad in foreign lands which can initially appear as if an alien space place with their own different way of communicating in strange tongues and dialects with alternate languages and enlightening texts.

            :-) Now, in any language, anywhere, El Reg, is that easily classed a Universal Scoop and it would also be an Advanced Beta Testing of your very own Quantum Communications Leaping Abilities and Facilities for Future AI Utility. Is there anything there not to like and love and terrifying you?

            Ask ... for there are always inevitably answers available almost immediately.

            1. Toni the terrible

              Re: An Expanding Existential Crisis Option ...

              If you ask a question you cant avoid the answer...

          2. Toni the terrible

            Re: An Expanding Existential Crisis Option ...

            Who says Alien Life is Logical in its Intelligence, after all we never were

        2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge
          Coffee/keyboard

          Re: An Expanding Existential Crisis Option ...

          Oh my God, the tediousness of your post is making my brain leak out of my ears. Send help.

      4. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: An Expanding Existential Crisis Option ...

        In my narrow experience, matey, it'd alternate between stupefying and hugely amusing...

      5. Flywheel Silver badge
        Alien

        Re: An Expanding Existential Crisis Option ...

        Given the difficulty that we're having even getting hold of the Russia Report let alone reading it, it's quite likely that we'd never realise that Martians were in fact on our planet. Maybe Covid-19 came from farther afield than we anticipated.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The chances of anything intelligent on Earth are a million to one,

      He said,

      The chances of anything intelligent on Earth are a million to one,

      But still, there's none!

      1. DJO Silver badge

        That's a bit unfair to cetaceans

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          They've already fucked off after thanking us for all the fish.

    3. Blackjack Silver badge

      While funny, that is wrong; because finding a single smart life form counts.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Oh, and so I suppose marriage negates any indication of intelligence does it?

        1. very angry man
    4. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
      Alien

      We will be Avenged

      As you have been so kind, we won't en-act our revenge this week.

  2. Julz Silver badge
    Facepalm

    So

    Send an robot to Mars with loads of sensors to do science stuff. Collect bucket loads of data from those sensors. Then, whittle the data down to what you think you might be looking for via a black box algorithm. Dump the rest and send back the Readers Digest version of the data. Sounds just the job.

    1. revenant

      Re: So

      I hope they at least consider pumping the raw data to local storage (ie local to mars), so that it can be queried or processed at a later date when they realise that the AI was not so 'I' after all.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So

      How do you think the data gathering at CERN works? Because that is exactly how the experiments that found the Higgs deal with the vast quantities of data coming off. At this point it looks as if the would-be Mars explorers are hoping to make use of technology that currently runs in big racks, miniaturised to a practical Rover.

    3. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: So

      Yes - as is often said around these parts: the most important sentence in science is "Hmmmm, that's odd..." Use of "AI" (which isn't "I") seems to be prejudging the results, whether on Mars or at CERN.

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: So

        It's not quite like that. According the the article, the AI looks for things it knows about. Presumably it sends the oddities in full.

  3. xyz

    Obviously...

    NASA is on a fixed monthly usage tariff.

  4. Glen 1 Silver badge

    Would it not make sense to have a separate craft to sort/store transmit the data?

    If a stationary lander (or orbiter) can act as a server with occasional uplink, that would free up the rover to do more rovery things.

    You could even use some of the current orbiters as comms satellites for when the rover is over the horizon.

    I think given the number of probes and craft we will be sending to Mars over the next 10-20 years, it would be worth the investment in setting up a high bandwidth satellite comms/storage network. With the last hop to Earth being a "Big Dish" or possibly even a laser. Want more transmit power? Put more solar on it.

    1. HildyJ Silver badge
      Pint

      Been there,done that

      The Perseverance rover, like other rovers, communicates to the orbiters Odyssey, MRO (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter), and MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) which then communicate to NASA's Deep Space Network consisting of a suite of powerful radio receivers.

      Lasers are a future technology being researched but are years away.

      Go boffins!

    2. teknopaul Silver badge

      They thought of that. There are a few comms Sat's around Mars already, I think 4. I remember reading here about them hiding behind Mars from solar flares.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unprepared

    They cant even design a proper parachute,yet, as per the article? FFS

    It might be easier for the AI sniffers to find Trumps fart !

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Unprepared

      Of course they can, FFS. They are just having to scale up. I mean, everyone remembers Curiosity and the "complicated" landing of burn through atmosphere, use parachutes then a rocket powered skycrane, but how many remember that that was actually just a step change from Spirit and Opportunitys landing methods, ie burn through the atmosphere, deploy parachute, inflate the ball cocoon and then a final rocket powered declaration before dropping them the remainder of the way to bounce!

      Parachutes on Mars are a done deal. Trying out new materials and designs to cope with different load patterns and payload masses is what happens here on Earth

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Rocket-powered declaration

        What a truly inspired autocorrect typo!

        "Our craft will first freefall then deploy parachutes, then finally there will be a rocket declaration and the craft will land."

        Love it.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Rocket-powered declaration

          I'm not sure what the typo was, but that was the result of me not looking properly at the spell check suggestions and clicking the wrong one. However, it is, as you say rather fun :-)

          1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: Rocket-powered declaration

            (I assumed the originally intended word was "deceleration")

            .

            (Also and And: "rather fun"? :) Pish and also Pfft. It's genius. _Genius_, I say! :)

  6. Nifty Bronze badge

    And they're trying to send us a coded message

    Jennifer Zeng 曾錚 (@jenniferatntd) Tweeted: More photos of #CCPVirus like hail in #Beijing, today. 端午节北京下冰雹 越看越像 #中共病毒 https://t.co/G0iEduVCyZ

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Venus

    NASA do like a challenge. Why don't they send a probe to Venus equipped with a video feed fed to an off the shelf facial recognition system like those employed by police forces.

    Extending that to the full body, the flaw is when it comes across sunbathing triple-breasted venetian. The training data says 2 points...

    --->

    1. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

      Re: Venus

      Don't be so bigoted. Some Venusians have three breasts, some five. There's no need to highlight the difference, as it offends those with seven breasts.

      And it's Venusians, not Venetians. Unless you're talking about people from Venice. In which case they'd be 'third generation Venetian Venusians'.

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: Venus

        Point(s) taken.

        No wonder I couldn't find any Venusian Blinds on Amazon for my Windows.

        I was Venusian Blind

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But aren't most discoveries made by observing something that is NOT expected. If you automatically discard data that does not fit a pre-conceived idea, you run the risk of missing something truly amazing or unique!

    1. Paul Cooper

      But aren't most discoveries made by observing something that is NOT expected. If you automatically discard data that does not fit a pre-conceived idea, you run the risk of missing something truly amazing or unique!

      As happened with the detection of the ozone hole, you mean? NASA could have detected the ozone hole from satellite measurements, but the relevant measurements were discarded as "out of range". It took scientists at BAS making ground-based measurements as part of a long-term survey to find the ozone hole. But if NASA hadn't made assumptions about what the data should look like, they would have beaten Farman et al to it.

  10. hatti

    An empty skips or quavers packet will be found mark my words

    1. Kane Silver badge

      "An empty skips or quavers packet will be found mark my words"

      Wotsits

    2. James Hughes 1

      Or perhaps a shit in a KFC box.

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. mediabeing

    Regarding your proposed future headline - Only if you're content calling Russians 'alien invaders'.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I stil dont get it

    IF parachutes work on Mars (they do), why havent they EXACTLY sniifed out the composition of the air / atmosphere and its density ( oxygen, nitrogen,others) to get a true assessment of each percentage and then devise the right materials for parachutes / rockets to be used.This info will also be useful in determining the chances of finding life (as we know it) in the short term.

    Will save alot of money too with one comprehensive AI probe and be done with.

  14. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Cockroach

    Since we are (mostly) all intelligent life here we are biased to intelligent life, but intelligence looks like an evolutionary dead end.

    Cockroaches existed before us, will survive us, and they haven't caused any other extinction.

    Extraterrestrial life may have arrived on earth and ignored humanity to communicate instead with more sensible species.

  15. Pat Harkin

    Artificial life looking for real life?

    Tell me it's called Pinocchio.

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