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Pilot study with the Crew Interactive MObile companioN (CIMON) (Mobile_Companion)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Human Factors and Performance Team
Neurobehavioral and Psychosocial Factors Team
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human



Long-duration missions place astronauts under immense stress and workload performing science experiments and maintaining space systems. High stress levels are shown to be detrimental to crew health due to immune system suppression and the increasing susceptibility to disease.

Crew support by an artificial intelligence (AI) could assist the crew in complex science experiment and maintenance duties. The Crew Interactive MObile companioN (CIMON) is just such a device. This device is a non-interventional, observational sphere developed to obtain insight into the effects of AI on crew support during long-term missions in space. CIMON interacts directly with the crew using verbal commands and has access to software and components, similar to that of the ground based IBM AI called ‘Watson”.

CIMON will be used to demonstrate how CIMON can:

  1. Support the crew in their daily routine tasks (Maintenance)
  2. Perform mobile video documentation of complex science tasks (Science Support)
  3. Facilitate training of specific motor skills (Skill Training)

The first flight of CIMON will be a technical demonstration and a test of acceptance, feasibility and efficiency of CIMON support. A crew questionnaire will be used to determine the performance and usefulness of AI and to identify possible countermeasures to both prevent stress and reduce expected monotony during long duration space missions.

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Average response time
Behavioral performance
Equipment usability
Workload, mental

Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Expedition 56 06/03/2018 10/04/2018 123 days
Expedition 57 10/04/2018 12/20/2018 77 days
Expedition 60 06/24/2019 10/03/2019 101 days
Expedition 61 10/03/2019 In progress

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Johnson Space Center LSDA Office
Project Manager: Eric Gallagher
Institutional Support
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Alternate Experiment Name
Proposal Date
Proposal Source