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AI robot crew member CIMON to join astronauts on space station

SpaceX is sending the HAL-style robot with supplies on its Falcon 9 rocket.

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CIMON will be joining astronauts on the International Space Station.

Airbus

An AI robot created to help astronauts will launch to the International Space Station early Friday.

The robot --the Crew Interactive Mobile Companion (CIMON) -- looks like a ball with a screen featuring a friendly cartoon face to assist his interacts with German astronaut Alexander Gerst, whom he will help conduct experiments.

He was developed by Airbus and IBM, which created his Watson AI, and weighs around 11 pounds (5 kg).

CIMON will work with three times Gerst on three tasks during the mission, according to Airbus, where the robot will give verbal instructions. They will experiment with crystals, work together to solve a Rubik's cube and perform a complex medical experiment where CIMON will act as an intelligent flying camera -- totalling around three hours of work total.

CIMON will be transported on SpaceX's Falcon 9 as part of a supply mission and will take off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 5:42 a.m. ET Friday. The Dragon supply capsule should arrive at the ISS around 7 a.m. ET Monday.

The launch is viewable on NASA TV or via SpaceX's webcast.

"What we're trying to do with CIMON is to increase the efficiency of the astronaut," Matthias Biniok, an IBM engineer one of the the robots's lead architects, told Reuters.

"Right now our main mission is to support the astronauts with their daily tasks to save time, because time is the most valuable and most expensive thing on the ISS."

Also on board will be a new Latching End Effector (LEE) "hand" for Canadarm2 -- one of Canadian Space Agency's LEEs failed last year and the supply mission includes a replacement.

Last week, SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted a video that reveals just how massive SpaceX rockets are.

Relax, puny humans Robots don't want your lousy office job.

Robotics engineer Barbie doesn't just look the part She acts it too.