Remote Agent

What is a remote agent?

What does "agent" mean?

An "agent" is really a metaphor for a certain style of program rather than any sort of new computer chip or programming language. Agents tend to be separate programs that make plans, execute those plans, and resolve any problems that arise during those plans.

For example, a spellchecker is a sort of agent---it uses its knowledge of how human beings spell words, finds mistakes, and suggests better versions. Very smart spell-checkers can automatically fix nonsense words that are common mistakes, like "teh" becoming "the." Agents are used to schedule jobs at factories, quickly responding to problems on the assembly lines. Agents are also used to search the Internet for information, choosing to follow links based on algorithms and knowledge that tell it what kinds of links might lead to what they're looking for. They are even used to help humans sort information like email messages, reading each message and suggesting categories for it.

And, of course, they are used to pilot space probes.

Is Remote Agent like the robots in science fiction movies?
What are the advantages of remote agents?
What is a remote agent?
What is DS1's programmed mission?
What will DS1 do on its mission?

What are the distinguishing characteristics of agents as opposed to a normal program?
Why don't we just send astronauts on deep space trips?
What are the dangers of remote agents?
How is NASA overseeing the DS1 mission?