As technology advances, many disciplines outside the field of computer science have found ways to introduce advanced technologies into their work. Artificial intelligence (AI) is a relatively new technology that's being applied to many tasks.

This Microsoft Learn learning path is the second in a series of learning paths that highlight how AI might influence NASA research, and space exploration in general. From teaching a computer to detect which rock an astronaut should collect based on the type of rock it is to predicting whether a rocket can launch on a specific day, AI can be a useful tool for the brilliant research minds that are behind some of Earth's most inspiring discoveries.

The programming services and libraries that do much of the complex math and algorithms in AI are widely available. For example, Python libraries and packages like PyTorch explore, visualize, and analyze data. Azure offers AI services that analyze an image by using a simple API call.

Although AI has complexities and levels we won't cover in the Learn modules, this learning path introduces you to some basic AI tools and services. It guides you through a practical use of the tools and services for an introductory exploration of images of space rocks.

Learning objectives

In this module, you'll use AI to build an aid to space rock classification techniques. Along the way, you'll:

  • Learn what space rocks are and what we do with them
  • Learn why classifying space rocks is challenging and important


  • Some Python experience