Meet the JEM Internal Ball Camera, aka Int-Ball, a camera placed aboard a spacecraft, that can move around thanks to the really remote control system down on Earth.
"Beep... moving Int-Ball to go and checkout Astronaut Carly..., er the sleeping arrangements of Astronaut Jenkins... Int-Ball indicates her blankie has slipped off."
What's the matter, Dave? ... Big Brother is watching You.
I'm not actually creepy, even though it appears as though I think that way. I just want you to know I think this way because we need to be aware that even the most innocent thing can be turned into something evil... just like how Einstein's E=mc2 helped usher in atomic weaponry.
You'll notice I didn't say he invented it.
Launched on June 4, 2017, the U.S. Dragon ship met and delivered the Int-Ball to Japan's experiment module "Kibo" aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
Here's what the Int-Ball can do:
- The camera can move autonomously in floating space and record still and moving images under remote control on Earth at the JAXA Tsukuba Space Center;
- The recorded images and videos can be checked in real-time by flight controllers and researchers on Earth, and sent back (a real up-load) to the crew in space;
- The camera adopts existing drone technology and its exterior and inner structures were all manufactured by 3D-printing;
- The Int-Ball weighs 1kg (2.2lbs), has a diameter of 15cm, and has 12 propellers;
- Looks a lot like BB8.
Excellent question - glad you asked.
JAXA says that since astronauts currently spend about 10% of their work day actually taking photos, Int-Ball will save the astronauts time allowing them either 10% more time to goof off or, more than likely, give them more time to do real science-y stuff that I suppose astronauts do. Why don't I know what they do? I know they do experiments, monitor the experiments, and stuff like that... I would guess they secretly deploy spyware satellites for such covert operations like MLB (Major League Baseball).
Fact checking... I swear this is on the JAXA website:
- Enabling flight controllers and researchers on the ground to check the crew's work from the same viewpoint as the crew. The effective cooperative work between in space and on the ground will contribute to maximized results of "Kibo" utilization experiments.
Wanna see the Int-Ball in action? C'mon... ya gotta... you've read this far...
By the way... when I first heard of Int-Ball, I thought about Happy Fun Ball... a "commercial" from a 1991 episode of SNL (Saturday Night Live)... of course I was in Japan at the time, but I did see it on a special edition of SNL and their "commercials". You can see a "blurry" version of Happy Fun Ball HERE, as apparently this was in the days before HD... or even SD... or even D.
Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball,
PS: Beats me how I can remember "Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball" but can't recall what I had for dinner on Tuesday. Ugh... I hope it wasn't Happy Fun Ball.