An anonymous reader quotes a report from the Seattle Times: A robot with true artificial intelligence is about to invade space. The large, round, plastic robot head is part of SpaceX’s latest supply delivery to the International Space Station. Friday’s pre-dawn liftoff also includes two sets of genetically identical female mice, 20 mousestronauts that will pick up where NASA’s identical twin brother astronauts left off a few years ago. Super-caffeinated coffee is also flying up for the space station’s java-craving crew.
As intriguing as identical space siblings and turbo-charged space coffee may be, it’s the German robot — named Cimon, pronounced Simon, after a genius doctor in science fiction’s “Captain Future” — that’s stealing the show. Like HAL, the autonomous Cimon is an acronym: it stands for Crew Interactive Mobile Companion. Its AI brain is courtesy of IBM. German astronaut Alexander Gerst, who arrived at the orbiting lab a month ago, will introduce Cimon to space life during three one-hour sessions. 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. To get Cimon’s attention, Gerst will need only to call its name. Their common language will be English, the official language of the space station.
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