Three self contained, flying robots named Honey, Queen, and Bumble have gotten to take a whirl around the International Space Station.
The compact cube-like robots, utilize electric fans to propel themselves through the air and are equipped with an adorable, tiny arm with two joints and equally adorable claw allowing them to grab and hold items. The arm completely tucks in when not in use. Six cameras help the robots navigate and map their surroundings.
Astrobee even provide turn signals so astronauts don’t ram into them. How considerate.
NASA ultimately envisions robots such as these to serve in something of a caretaker capacity for longer space missions in the future: While astronauts are away, the buzzing bots can monitor systems, make adjustments, complete inventories, or even documenting experiments while they unfold throughout the day.
Astrobee can work on their own or be taken over by researchers from both space and Earth so long as an appropriate connection exists.
The robots are being trialed now with full deployment to come at a later mission after further improvements are made.
Check out this cool NASA video to see Astrobee in action.