The crew members of the International Space Station have a new friend- a robot, delivered this past summer. CIMON is a small, 3D-printed robot that resembles a cross between Wilson the volleyball from Castaway and HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey. It moves by the action of two internal fans, and communicates by artificial intelligence.
CIMON, short for Crew Interactive MObile companioN, is the first interactive flight companion to take part in an ISS mission. The $6 million, basketball-sized robot was built by Airbus under a contract awarded by the German Aerospace Center (DLR). The purpose of the project is to see if an artificially intelligent bot can improve crew efficiency and morale during longer missions, including a possible mission to Mars.
In this video from the European Space Agency, CIMON shows off its stuff to German astronaut Alexander Gerst, but around the four minute mark, it starts acting like a stubborn toddler. Well, he is pretty young. Read more about CIMON at Gizmodo.