SpaceX sends AI robot ‘crew member’ to join astronauts on space station

SpaceX sends AI robot ‘crew member’ to join astronauts on space station

SpaceX sends AI robot ‘crew member’ to join astronauts on space station

The spacecraft carries over 5,900 pounds of load, including experimentation and investigation equipment such as the Crew Interactive Mobile Companion, Micro-12 and Ecosystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station.

Cimon, pronounced Simon, looks like a basketball and will become the world's first AI-based, flying space robot.

CIMON will help the geophysicist and volcanologist study crystals on the space station, solve a Rubik's cube using video data and play the role of an "intelligent camera" to document a medical experiment on-board.

Traveling in space and living in low gravity environment can have many adverse effects on a person's body, this system will help in understanding the effects on microorganisms that are a part of human gastrointestinal tracts.

"With CIMON, crew members can do more than just work through a schematic view of prescribed checklists and procedures; they can also engage with their assistant", Airbus said in its original announcement of the new AI companion. Their common language will be English, the official language of the space station.

CIMON was initially tested out on a parabolic flight - an airplane that flies a special trajectory to create brief moments of weightlessness, according to a report by The Verge.

That's because IBM is sending an AI robot to assist the ISS crew in their scientific endeavors and also to keep them company, reports FOX News. What's more, activities and tasks performed by ISS crew members are starting to get more complicated, so an AI could help.

The Dragon has flown before, supporting a mission in July 2016.

SpaceX marked the end of an era this morning as the last of its old-generation Falcon 9 rockets blasted beyond orbit from Cape Canaveral, Florida. And CIMON has trained some time on Earth with German astronaut Alexander Gerst, who is already on the ISS board.

CIMON is among 2,600 kg of cargo that was launched to the International Space Station on Friday, atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

Other experiments on board the Dragon include a new robotic hand, or latching end effector, for the space station's Canadian-made robotic arm.

CIMON can fly around and will use IBMWatson software to talk with an animated face and interact with astronauts.

Today's launch marks SpaceX's 15th cargo flight to the ISS.

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