NASA Is Sending Cute “Robotic Bees” to the Space Station

NASA Is Sending Cute “Robotic Bees” to the Space Station

Not the Bees!

NASA is sending a pair of “robotic bees” to the space station later this month, according to Digital Trends — a project the space agency is positioning as one of the most advanced space collaborations between humans and robots.

“Astrobee is a robot that will soon be flying around the International Space Station (ISS) alongside the astronauts,” reads a NASA page about the bees, which it says will “help scientists and engineers develop and test technologies for use in zero-gravity” and “help the astronauts do their routine chores.”

The Sting

According to a spec sheet, the Astrobees — which look vaguely like the “Weighted Companion Cube” from the hit Valve video game “Portal” — are outfitted with air impellers for movement, small robotic arm for gripping, and a variety of sensors, lasers, and input devices to allow it to interact with astronauts and the ISS environment.

The robo-bees will also have an intriguing telepresence component: NASA employees back in Houston will be able to jack into the floating bots from the ground, according to the space agency, giving them “eyes and ears” on board the ISS.

READ MORE: Robotic bees are set to invade the International Space Station [Digital Trends]

More on the ISS: See the Stunning New Trailer for a VR Series Filmed on the ISS

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