Alexa, take me to the moon – Beppe Grillo’s Blog

The mission Artemis-1 from NASA, scheduled to take off next March, aims to send an Orion spacecraft around the moon. The cabin will be largely empty, except for an interactive tablet nicknamed “Callisto” installed in front of an astronaut’s mannequin. Callisto is essentially a touch-screen device that features reconfigured versions of Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant and Cisco WebEx.

The system, named Callisto in honor of one of the handmaidens of the Goddess Artemis in Greek mythology, aims to make the work of astronauts one day easier. For example, astronauts might use Alexa to adjust cabin lighting while doing other activities, or typically find long, strenuous journeys more enjoyable by being able to connect with loved ones on Earth via the WebEx video conferencing platform.

The project is part of a collaboration between Amazon, Cisco and Lockheed Martin that built the Orion capsule for NASA. Lockheed approached the other two companies with the idea of ​​developing a virtual assistant about three years ago. It is also currently reimbursing NASA for any help the agency has put in place for this project through an agreement called Space Act Agreement, which allows the space agency to be rewarded for the skills or resources it provides to companies working on certain space projects. According to a Lockheed spokesperson, the estimated costs were about $ 2.1 million when it was Space Act Agreement it was signed for this project in 2018, even though Lockheed ended up paying NASA nearly $ 3 million.

NASA was not involved in the design of the system or in the selection of the partners that Lockheed assembled. “Lockheed is leading this effort and we are happy to allow it in terms of providing a platform, just as we would with other technology demonstrations that we believe could have future benefits,” Howard Hu, NASA’s Orion Vice Program Manager, told CNN.

Amazon is now rolling out a new feature for people who have an Alexa-enabled device at home. Users will be able to receive real-time updates on the Artemis-1 mission using the command: “Alexa, take me to the moon”.

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