Solar physicist chasing AI solutions to space science questions with NASA

Posted on: 29 June 2018

PhD Researcher in Trinity’s astrophysics group, Laura Hayes, is currently taking part in NASA’s two-month Frontier Development Lab in California, where she is working with other experts in space science and artificial intelligence (AI).

The Frontier Development Lab is a research accelerator programme hosted at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute, in partnership with the NASA Ames Research Centre in Mountain View, CA.

The programme brings together industry partners such as IBM, NVIDIA, Intel, Google, KX, and Lockeed Martin to work with researchers from academia to apply the cutting edge of advanced AI technologies to challenges faced in space science research.

Laura is part of the Space Weather team, and is using her expertise as a solar physics researcher. She said: “The challenge I’m working on focuses on the state of the ionised part of the Earth’s atmosphere (the ionosphere), and how its condition is affected by space weather – such as solar wind and solar flares.”

“Our team will use large amounts of Global Navigation Satellite System – GNSS – data. Solar signals pierce the ionosphere and these hold information about the state at any given time. We can then correlate this with space weather data from NASA’s suite of Sun-observing satellites.”

The team’s ultimate aim is to train an AI model that will turn GNSS data into an instrument that helps us better understand the Sun-Earth connection.

More information about the Frontier Development Lab can be found here.

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