Frontier Development Lab Sets 2020 Challenges

The Frontier Development Lab (FDL) applies artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to space science to push the frontiers of research and develop new tools to help solve some of the biggest challenges that humanity faces. FDL is a public-private partnership with NASA in the USA and ESA in Europe.

FDL 2020 PROPOSED CHALLENGES

Note that this list is still provisional and while most challenges detailed here are confirmed to go ahead, some may be adapted or moved to 2021 based on capacity.

ASTRONAUT HEALTH

Long duration missions and cancer: A testbed for building causal inference methods

Can we use causal inference methods to understand the molecular basis of cancer in high radiation environments, such as a long duration stay on the Moon or Mars?

PLANETARY SCIENCE

Moon Engine: Moon For Good, Phase II

Leveraging the work of the 2019 FDL Moon for Good team to extend their work toward identifying lunar resources of interest to the entire moon.

HELIOPHYSICS

Tracking the geoeffectiveness of solar storms

Using continuous data gathered by space and ground-based remote and in-situ sensing instruments to predict the impact of individual solar storms on terrestrial systems.

Earlier characteristic detection of solar wind

Can we use ML to predict the solar wind (Bz) at any point in the solar system?

EARTH SCIENCE

The Earth Intelligence Engine: Drought images from the Future

Can DL enhanced simulation acceleration methods and / or generative adversarial networks (GANs) produce predictions and enhanced uncertainty estimations of drought behavior under future climate conditions to inform long-term resilience planning strategies -AKA ‘satellite images from the future’ disaster_

DISASTER MANAGEMENT

Lightning and Extreme Weather

Improving the capability to predict extreme weather events arising from convective activity.

Floods: Mapping inundation extent during a flooding event

Can we support disaster efforts by being able to rapidly map current water extent and differencing against known or typical water, to rapidly identify those regions where flooding is happening, using temporal satellite imagery and SAR?

ASTROPHYSICS

Star Check: seeking out unusual stars and exo-star systems

Recent NASA space telescope missions have uncovered stars exhibiting bizarre brightness changes over time, meanwhile each new star system discovered challenges our understanding of how star systems evolve, but the search space is enormous. Can ML help?

Starspots: Stellar surface features from exoplanetary transits

Use exoplanetary transits to obtain information about active regions and starspots on host stars and provide insights on habitability.

WHAT IS FDL?

The Frontier Development Lab (FDL) applies AI technologies to space science to push the frontiers of research and develop new tools to help solve some of the biggest challenges that humanity faces. These range from the effects of climate change to predicting space weather, from improving disaster response, to identifying meteorites that could hold the key to the history of our universe.

FDL is a public-private partnership with NASA in the USA and ESA in Europe. We work with commercial partners such as NVIDIA, Intel, and Google Cloud, IBM, Lockheed Martin, SpaceResources Luxembourg, KBRWyle, XPrize, Kx, and Miso Technologies who provide expertise and the computing resources necessary for rapid experimentation and iteration in data intensive areas, as well as partners such as the SETI Institute, Satellite Applications Catapult, USC MASCLE, and the University of Oxford.

FDL is hosted by the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California – in partnership with NASA Ames Research Center.

We have established an impressive success rate for research output over accelerated time periods over the time since we launched the Frontier Development Lab. Research papers are regularly accepted to respected journals, presented at scientific conferences (in both AI and space science domains) and have been featured in multiple media outlets.