SpaceX Is Transporting AI Support Robot CIMON to ISS

SpaceX Is Transporting AI Support Robot CIMON to ISS

SpaceX Is Transporting AI Support Robot CIMON to ISS

"That's actually our overall mission, to create a crew companion, a real crewmate to the astronauts", said Matthias Biniok, lead IBM Watson architect for Germany, Austria and Switzerland and the project lead for CIMON, according to the network.

A ball-shaped artificial intelligence robot nicknamed the "flying brain" because it is trained to follow and interact with a German astronaut blasted off today toward the International Space Station aboard SpaceX's Dragon cargo ship.

Both the capsule and the rocket have flown before.

CIMON will verbally communicate step-by-step instructions to Mr. Gerst during three planned science experiments on the space station's European module.

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About 10 minutes later, SpaceX's Twitter account confirmed Dragon was "in good orbit".

The spacecraft should arrive at the ISS around 5:30 a.m. on Monday, July 2, and splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California in early-to-mid August.

The first AI robot "crew member" named as CIMON (Crew Interactive Mobile Companion) launched on Friday.

"I mean, if you go out to the moon or to Mars, you can not take all mankind and engineers with you, but with an artificial intelligence you have instantly all the knowledge of mankind", said German Aerospace Center CIMON project lead Christian Karrasch in the video below. Already savvy about Gerst's science experiments, the self-propelling Cimon will float at the astronaut's side and help, when asked, with research procedures.

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It was built by Airbus on behalf of the German Aerospace Center in a bid to "demonstrate cooperation between humans and intelligent machines" in the form of a technology experiment.

CIMON was trained with astronaut lingo and instructional data to walk Gerst through dozens of steps related to his research project either by showing him videos, talking him through the process, or recommending tools.

Once back on, voice recordings are activated again. The dragon first went to the space station in July 2016, while the Falcon 9 was flying in April this year when it launched a new planet-hunting satellite for NASA called Tess.

The Dragon's 5,900 pounds of cargo will include Ecostress, developed in Pasadena at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which measures the temperature of plants to better understand how much water they need in space and how they respond to stress.

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