Astrobee flying robots are being prepared by U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronauts on the International Space Station, to help perform science investigations.
NASA's Jose Benavides said, "We are planning to have them perform boring, routine tasks, because crew time is one of the most valuable resources we have up there."
The cube-shaped machines float in the microgravity of orbit and maneuver via jets of compressed air. They feature speakers, cameras, laser imaging or LIDAR, signal lights, an LED touchscreen control panel, and a docking arm.
They also have a laser pointer that could be used by ground control to identify defective wires or air leaks, and could be outfitted with specialized microphones to alert the crew to changes in ambient noise levels that could indicate a problem with the space station's life support systems.
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