It's one small step in the history of space flight. But it was one giant leap for computer-kind, with a state of the art artificial intelligence system being given primary command of a spacecraft. Known as Remote Agent, the software operated NASA's Deep Space 1 spacecraft and its futuristic ion engine during two experiments that started on Monday, May 17, 1999. For two days Remote Agent ran on the on-board computer of Deep Space 1, more than 60,000,000 miles (96,500,000 kilometers) from Earth. The tests were a step toward robotic explorers of the 21st century that are less costly, more capable and more independent from ground control.
A second remote agent experiment was conducted on Friday, May 21, starting at 7:15 a.m. Pacific Time, accomplishing all of the remaining test objectives of the remote agent team. For more information, see Friday afternoon's status message and transcript of the Remote Agent telemetry.
Remote Agent is a joint effort between NASA Ames and JPL under the NASA's New Millennium Program and Cross Enterprise Technology Development Program, and in partnership with Caelum Research Corp, RECOM, RIACS, Harlequin, and Carnegie Mellon University.
Notes on the progress of the experiment.
A java applet which shows the remote agent's activities onboard the spacecraft.
A short computer graphics animation created for the news media.