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AI Robot to Accompany Astronauts in Space

CIMON AI robot will try to increase the efficiency of the astronauts and assist them in conduct experiments on the International Space Station

A science fiction-inspired robot hardwired to assist astronauts will launch from Florida to become the first personal artificial intelligence-powered companion in space. CIMON’s artificial intelligence is made by engineers of chip maker IBM which are also one of the lead architects behind this.

Verbal communication

CIMON (Crew Interactive Mobile Companion) will verbally communicate step-by-step instructions to astronauts during three planned science experiments on the space station’s European module. CIMON is an English-speaking droid roughly the size of a basketball that will help astronaut conduct experiments on the International Space Station.

Currently, astronauts read these instructions from a laptop, which is an arduous process that a responsive, hands-free companion like CIMON can replace.

Right now the main mission is to support the astronauts with their daily tasks to save time because time is the most valuable and most expensive thing on the International Space Station (ISS).

Science fiction

The German Aerospace Center plans for CIMON to undergo three one-hour sessions to demonstrate how well the robot can help with experiments, like a crystal growth study, a test for its eight on-board cameras and an exercise to help astronauts solve a Rubik’s cube.

The concept of CIMON was inspired by a 1940s science fiction comic series set in space, where a sentient, brain-shaped robot named Professor Simon mentors an astronaut.  CIMON’s hardware contractor, Airbus, said extending astronauts’ abilities in space is imperative for future space exploration journeys, like the crewed missions to Mars that are scheduled to take off as early as 2020.

There are certain effects that might appear during long-term missions like the so-called groupthink effect, citing a behavioural phenomenon in which humans that spend lengthy periods of time in isolation are driven to make irrational decisions. Long, isolated groups tend to stop communicating with the ground. A robot like CIMON with human-like personalities could help mitigate the disorientation astronauts may feel in space.


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