Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have a new and adorable robotic ball that can capture images and videos while roving in zero gravity. Known as the “Int-Ball Camera”, the drone was created to take the photography duties from astronauts. The Japan’s space agency has just released the first pictures taken by the drone, which is operated from the agency station in space.
The drone is capable of floating freely in the zero-gravity environment and can be operated from the earth. Generally, astronauts take about 10% of their time taking images and recording videos with their equipment. The new drone will now take over these duties thus relieving scientists more space to conduct other critical tasks such as conducting experiments and fixing repairs on the critical instruments.
The Int-Ball was invented by the Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and was launched in space aboard SpaceX Dragon on June 4. The drone is still undergoing various tests and the camera, which is capable of floating autonomously, is the first robot proficient in recording real-time images and videos while roaming in space.
The device, which is about 15 cm in length, will enable the probe controllers to closely watch the conditions in the space station and provide up-to date data to the ground controllers. The drone is presently active in the Japan’s ‘Kibo’ experiment module on board the ISS. It’s closely monitored by the Flight controllers and scientists at JAXA’s Tsukuba Space Center.
The instrument is the first JAXA’s space drone that has ever recorded the video. Its powerful camera is located between two bright spheres that resemble the huge blue eyes. Since its launch in June, the drone released its first images and videos it captured recently.
The tool can shift in any direction, thus creating images from all angles of the camera. It’s remote-controlled and can be easily monitored by mission researchers back on earth. It records in real-time, which enables the team of scientists on Earth to continuously check the progress on what’s happening in space. Use of robots to collect data on space is a great idea since the place is risky and harmful place for humans.
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