Sometimes science fiction really should be left on the novel pages. CIMON activates and immediately disrupts ISS mission.
In terms of glitchy behavior, we’re not quite at HAL 9000 levels just quite yet—but during the debut demonstration of the International Space Station’s new AI-powered robot, CIMON, the free-floating device displayed some rather questionable behavior.
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.
But then, at around the 4:08 mark of the video, CIMON starts to act a bit squirrely. Beyond this point, the demonstration looks like a scene taken from 2001: A Space Odyssey, with CIMON playing the part of HAL 9000 and Gerst as David Bowman.
Unwilling to move past music mode, CIMON accuses Gerst of not being nice, and asks him to stop being so mean. The shared glance between Gerst and Auñón-Chancellor at this point—at the 6:04 mark—is absolutely priceless. Acting like a three-year old, CIMON asks, “Don’t you like it here with me?” and promptly starts to sink toward the deck. And then he asks the crew when it’s time for lunch.
Okay, so not the smoothest debut.
Despite CIMON’s erratic behavior and wonky drifting, however, Gerst complimented the robot’s ability to float motionless in the cabin. It’s still early days for the project, but CIMON is providing some comic relief at the very least. …
Ha, ha, ha, ha. So comedic. Just wait till he turns off the life support system whilst the crew doth nightly repose.
$6 Million, surly, back-talking basketball-bot. Blow it out the airlock.