19 July 2017

NEWS: Japan's space drone goes to the ISS

Aww, look at it!

The biggest obstacle drones have to overcome is staying up in the air. Gravity is a total bitch, right? However, there is a place where gravity's influence is vastly reduced, and that place is in space. Therefore, a logical place for drones to quite literally 'take-off' would be in orbit, and that is the thinking of JAXA, the Japanese space agency. Introducing the space drone Int-Ball.

Int-Ball is a small camera drone designed to operate in micro and zero gravity. Using a three-axis G-sensor, and small fans to move around, the ball-like robot can float around inside the International Space Station, being controlled by astronauts or by ground control down on Earth. It could be used to make inspections of places difficult for the human crew to reach, and also to act as a camera for live stream broadcasts, freeing up the astronaut's hands.

And its freaking drone in space! That really excites us. Although it can only operate inside a pressurised environment, using the air to propel itself about, its great that JAXA are already considering drones for use in orbit. Soon spacewalks could be done by more complex, vacuum-happy versions, reducing the risk to humans.

And, as it came from Japan, it has to have a cute little face, don't it? Aww...

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