SpaceX is sending an AI robot to join the astronauts on the space station.
SpaceX will launch its 15th cargo mission to the International Space Station for NASA, sending supplies on top of its Falcon 9 rocket. On board there are shipments of food and water for the six astronauts living on the ISS, as well as science experiments and technologies to be tested out in microgravity. Within that haul includes the first ever AI robot as a crew member to live on the station.
The robot name is CIMON — for Crew Interactive Mobile Companion — and it looks a bit like a volleyball with a computer screen on one side. The screen displays a simplified cartoon face that the bot will use to interact with the “human” astronauts on the ISS. And to maneuver around, CIMON is equipped with 14 internal fans that will propel the white ball in whatever direction it needs. That means CIMON can “float” throughout the station, zooming up to astronauts that call its name.