University of Chicago geoscientist Patrick McGuire has big plans
for Mars. Previously he worked on an imager for a Mars orbiter that could identify different types of soil and rock by detecting infrared and other wavelengths, and now he is drawing on that experience to develop a space suit with digital "eyes" and a neural network that rides on the hips of the spacesuit and can sort out living biological material from other matter.
The digital eyes will detect and plot colors, and the neural net, which is known as a Hopfield neural network, will compare these color patterns to a database of information previously gathered from that area of planet in order to make an animal-vegetable-mineral determination.
This complex AI system has already been tested at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, and McGuire and his colleagues were satisfied that the Hopfield algorithm could learn colors from just a few images and could recognize units that had been observed earlier.
McGuire’s concept is that a human wearing this neural network could simply walk around the red planet and record every nearby object, rapidly gathering information.
Obviously, such a clothing item awaits a manned Mars mission. But in the meantime, why not have the next Rover suit up?