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Open the pod bay doors, HAL


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HAL 9000, the chatty computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey, has come a step closer to reality. A team crewing NASA's Mars Desert Research Station, a simulated planetary environment in the Utah desert, has been experimenting this week with software that can talk to the crew about the status of their spacecraft's systems.

Using wireless headsets, crew members ask the computer questions such as "Is the generator providing power to the batteries?" The computer then interrogates sensors embedded in the spacecraft systems, and provides the answer in spoken form. In this week's trials, the software dealt with simulations of a malfunctioning power system.

Until now astronauts doing running repairs have been guided through the job by support crews on the ground.

Source: New Scientist

http://tinyurl.com/g6ahp

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