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A science fiction-inspired robot hardwired to assist astronauts launched from Florida early Friday to become the first personal, artificial intelligence-powered companion in space.Currently, astronauts read these instructions from a laptop, which Biniok says is an arduous process that a responsive, hands-free companion like CIMON can replace.Philipp Schulien, a German engineer for CIMON's hardware contractor, Airbus, said extending astronauts' abilities in space is imperative for future space exploration journeys, like the crewed missions to Mars that are scheduled to take off as early as 2020 .A robot like CIMON with human-like personalities could help mitigate the disorientation astronauts may feel in space, Schulien said.
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