AI 4 Mars

The terrain is important to get around on Mars. Spirit got stuck in a sandpit and ended its mission after 7 years of exploring Mars (but far exceeding its nominal mission length of 90-days). Opportunity and Curiosity also have experienced getting stuck in the sand, although they were able to continue on their missions. Don’t you think it would be nice if the Mars rover could identify dangerous terrain by herself? That is what a team at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory is working on using Machine learning – essentially the same technology used by self-driving cars on Earth. To do so, the rover needs training data to learn from. Homi Lab brings this unique opportunity where you can help NASA explore Mars from home!


By participating in the AI 4 Mars challenge you will teach future Mars rovers how to identify terrain types, such as sand, rock, and soil. Through a web-based tool, you will annotate images taken by the Perseverance rover, which will be used to train a machine-learning algorithm to identify and avoid potentially hazardous terrains. The resulting algorithm would be used in the ground operation system of the Mars Science Laboratory and Mars 2020 missions, as well as in future self-driving software on the rover!

This is a multidisciplinary project and students learn about software and additional skills. Schools are privileged to join in a NASA outreach challenge simultaneously with researchers around the world.

The Process

  • Registration Begins - October 24, 2021
  • Participants can start registering for the campaign as per the given guidelines.

  • Registration Ends - October 31, 2021
  • The last date for registration is 31st October 2021, 6 PM IST

  • Selected Candidates - November 01, 2021
  • A list of participants based on their responses to the given form will be released. 

  • Challenge Commences - November 03, 2021
  • The selected candidates will begin their journey to click the images from the International Space Station's camera.

  • Announcement of Result
  • Citizen Scientists will receive certificates from NASA for their important contribution towards humanity's quest to explore the Red Planet.


  • Participants should have access to a proper internet connection and must be operating a computer/laptop.

  • A limited number of participants will be selected globally to participate in the prestigious challenge.

  • Participants must be available throughout the duration of the challenge.

  • Participants of any nationality can apply.