SpaceX and its founder Elon Musk are on to Google’s ‘moonshot’ projects. First, the aerospace company announced that it is going to send first Mars Mission in 2018, and next, the billionaire tycoon launches an Atari playground to train OpenAI, which is another slingshot founded by the visionary inventor and businessman. Both announcements happen the same month almost back to back, along with 360 video of Falcon 9 sea landing. When it comes to taking risks, the owner of Tesla knows no limits.

Space Exploration Technologies Corporation or SpaceX wants to be the first to land on the Mars and the company is not going to wait beyond 2018 to launch its first Mars Mission. On the other hand, Elon Musk just launched training ground for its AI company OpenAI, where experimental programs will play around inside the environment of Atari games. 

The Gym for AI programs

The Gym by OpenAI will allow AI programs to play Atari games
The Gym by OpenAI will allow AI programs to play Atari games

Artificial Intelligence has become a top-level priority for many tech titans, where automakers want to put AI into the driver’s seat, game makers want highly intelligent NPCs and search engine and marketing companies want to measure the internet surfers and their preference. Google alone has nearly invested in every possible arena, not long ago the company open sourced TensorFlow, which drives Google search.

Now OpenAI is another story. It is an AI research company that Musk supports in every way to promote the non-profit cause, which is to develop open source and human-friendly Artificial Intelligence. In the wake of the latest announcement, OpenAI made the source code for AI gym available to the AI researchers worldwide, which can be used to test and train AI programs.

The AI gym is actually nothing but 59 Atari game titles, including Alien, Pong, Asteroids, Chinese Go and Pac-Man. Unlike traditional human gameplays, these games are supposed to be played by AI programs so researchers can track the progress of deep learning capabilities of their AI software. Here is how things will work for the training days of AI minds.

  • Simulation: Variable 2D/3D spaces and objects with or without physics engine
  • Tasks/Mission: Learning to walk, propelling cars, avoiding obstacles, choosing the best path, balancing objects
  • OpenAI leaderboards: Not traditional high scores, success will depend upon versatility of the systems.

In short OpenAI’s Gym challenges AI programs with uncertain outcomes so the mind of the machine can learn to anticipate and respond to different situations.

2018 SpaceX Mission Mars

SpaceX has announced to send its first Mars Mission in 2018
SpaceX has announced to send its first Mars Mission in 2018

Since the aerospace company manufactured its Dragon spacecraft, Musk hit upon a gold mine. The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft has been providing space transport services to the magnate clients like NASA and now the company is planning to send it to the mars. The revelation was made in a Tweet without much follow-up details except that there will be soon.

What are the odds of SpaceX acquiring its Mars goal? The answer is Elon Musk! That’s an answer because if the 2018 Mission failed, the 2020 Mission (suppose) will. If that won’t the next will. We have learned one thing from all the failed launchings and landings the company had to bear: SpaceX is not allowed to quit as long as Elon Musk is holding the strides.

NASA has already given praise-worthy comments to the efforts carried out by SpaceX. The unmanned Dragon 2 spacecraft, which is the current candidate for Mars Mission is already going through testing and assembly phases. “Dragon 2 is designed to be able to land anywhere in the solar system. Red Dragon Mars mission is the first test flight,” Elon Musk said in a Tweet.

Falcon 9 Sea Landing

SpaceX lands Falcon 9 on drone ship in the sea and films it in 360 video
SpaceX lands Falcon 9 on drone ship in the sea and films it in 360 video

April is not done with Elon Musk. Getting rocket to space is easy, but getting it back safely is not. But if we could, it would not only reduce space debris around our planet but also recycle rocket material and reduce production costs with every launch. The metal and frame recovered from rocket components are precious savings.

This is exactly what SpaceX is trying to accomplish with its sea landings. After many failed trials, it finally happened. SpaceX recently released an astonishing 360-degree video of its Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship in the ocean. This sets a new milestone in the aerospace technology where no one has gone before.

Cleverly, SpaceX made sure that people witness as the history is made, in a live video, then in 4K quality, and now finally with multiple angles!

What’s next for SpaceX?

How can someone take so much pressure because Musk is really hitting the threshold? Where on one hand, the tech titan has to meet the hundreds of thousands of pre-orders for Tesla Model 3 which will start shipping in 2018; on the other, it announced to launch Mars Mission by 2018 and Dragon 2 is still being developed in the labs.

Falcon 9 sea landing, Mission Mars by SpaceX; the AI Gym by OpenAI; Model 3 by Tesla: All of them are more or less moonshots and hopefully the risk-taking entrepreneur will excel in all of them.