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1. On Sunday, SpaceX's Dragon capsule docked at the International Space Station, dropping off a few supplies. These included some mighty mice, supplies for the crew, and CIMON, the friendly (and weird-looking) robot.
2. CIMON, which stands for Crew Interactive Mobile Companion, is the world's first autonomous free-floating robot to operate on the Space Station, and it's also the first-ever smart astronaut assistant. CIMON can retrieve information and keep track of the tasks the astronauts are doing, but it can also hold an intelligent conversation and potentially help with social issues that come from a small team working in an enclosed space over a long period of time (we're talking serious cabin fever).
3. CIMON spent time on the International Space Station in 2017, and has been upgraded since then with improved software, hardware, and a higher level of artificial emotional intelligence. It's emotional intelligence is based on the IBM Watson Tone Analyzer, which assesses the astronauts' emotions. This could counter the phenomena of 'groupthink', where people working closely together gradually come to share the same ideas.
4. CIMON will remain aboard the Space Station for the next three years - plans beyond that haven't been announced. However, it is likely that as CIMON's intelligence increases, it will become integral to the future missions to Mars, the Moon and beyond.