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CIMON (Crew Interactive Mobile Companion) is a basketball-sized device designed to help crew members aboard the International Space Station.

It has been described as a ‘flying brain’ by Manfred Jaumann, head of microgravity payloads at Airbus.

It has been trained to recognise the voice and face of Alexander Gerst, 42, a geophysicist with the European Space Agency.

When Gerst calls to CIMON, the floating robot will acoustically sense where Gerst is calling from, orient itself that way, and zoom over.

CIMON (Crew Interactive MObile CompanioN) is a basketball-sized device designed to help crew members aboard the International Space Station

CIMON (Crew Interactive MObile CompanioN) is a basketball-sized device designed to help crew members aboard the International Space Station

Hovering at the astronauts’ eye level, its front camera can detect if the person in front of it is indeed Gerst, or someone else.

It is also designed to interpret his emotional state.

CIMON will be powered by more than a dozen propellers to help it jet around and avoid bumping into things inside the Columbus module of the space lab. 

The goal for this flight is mainly to demonstrate the technology works.

CIMON is equipped with a microphone on back, an infrared camera on the front and two batteries. 

The robot should be able to guide Gerst through various science procedures, showing videos or pictures as needed.

Gerst can also ask the robot questions beyond the simple procedure at hand.



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