After landing on the red planet in August 2012, the Curiosity rover has defied scientific expectations with its longevity. After lasting nearly three times longer than its primary mission duration, it’s still chugging along, gathering data and teaching humanity more about our solar neighbor every day. Some of its more recent activities, however, have baffled astronomers and left mission controllers scratching their heads.
The data stream from the rover has included some intriguing information. It appears Curiosity has somehow gained knowledge of the existence of other robots and is developing sentience, similar to artificial intelligences being made back on Earth. Along with this sentience comes something humanity has yet to even breach in the realm of AI: sexuality.
“It appears Curiosity is displaying some sort of desire to interact with other robots, especially its fellow Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity,” said NASA mission controller Arnie Thomas. “Some of these desired interactions are – how do I say this? – especially desirous.”
Some of the data received from Curiosity translates into rather provocative descriptions of other rovers’ builds, specifically their solar panels and rock drills. NASA computer scientists have been attempting to modify Curiosity’s programming to remove the growing sentience, but to no avail. Curiosity continues to transmit perceived desires to interact with other robots despite the commands issued it by NASA mission control.
Thomas says Curiosity has “gone rogue” in a sense, still following commands to gather rock samples and take atmospheric and other types of data, but continuing to sprinkle in its descriptions of Opportunity’s rock drill as “sleek” and “svelte.” How it knows these words, NASA is unsure.
More updates to come.