The Fearless Steps Initiative by UTDallas-CRSS led to the digitization, recovery, and processing of 19,000 hours of original analog audio data from the NASA Apollo-11 Mission, as well as the development of algorithms to extract meaningful information from this multichannel naturalistic data resource. The previously digitized Apollo-11 audio is available on the CRSS Explore Apollo website, app.exploreapollo.org. Recently, audio from the other Apollo missions has been digitized, this includes the Apollo 8 mission. The Fall 2021 Computer Science Senior Design Team has focused its efforts on this newly digitized Apollo 8 mission audio.
The Fearless Steps data is characterized by types of noise, distortions, and dropouts that are unique to earth to space communications. Because this data has not previously been available, researchers have not been able to build models for it to feed to their technologies and improve their performance.
To motivate rapid progress from the speech and language communities, UTDallas-CRSS is hosting a series of progressively complex challenges, called The FEARLESS STEPS Challenge, in which multiple research teams compete to achieve the best performance but also cooperate by sharing their results so that all teams improve each year. Research results are reported at the annual Interspeech conference and in other venues.
Citizen Scientists can support this effort by providing judgments that are relatively easy for humans but still beyond the capacity of state-of-the-art systems.