Yes, But Do Astrobees Have Lasers For Lightsaber Training?

NASA's Astrobee program seeks to continue the development of little helper robots for use on the International Space Station.


Astrobee consists of three self-contained, free flying robots and a docking station for use inside the ISS. It is an autonomous free flyer powered by fans and operates in the entire U.S. Operating Segment (USOS) using vision-based navigation. The autonomous robots are operated remotely from the ground.

Astrobee facility enables robotic free flyer technology research in microgravity, and is used to test computer vision, robotic manipulation, control algorithms, and Human-Robot Interaction (HRI).

The cameras and sensors perform crew monitoring, sampling activities, logistics management and other routine tasks; thus enabling astronauts to dedicate their efforts to other science and engineering duties. Each free flying robot is capable of accommodating up to three payloads with mechanical attachment, power and data connectivity.

(Via Astrobee at NASA.)

Yes, but do they have lasers for lightsaber training?


(Luke Skywalker lightsaber training from Star Wars)

They are described in George Lucas' 1976 novel Star Wars:

The old man was hefting a silvery globe about the size of a man's fist. It was covered with fine antennae, some as delicate as those of a moth. He flipped it toward Luke and watched as it halted a couple of meters away from the boy's face. Luke readied himself as the ball circled him slowly, turning to face it as it assumed a new position. Abruptly it executed a lightning swift lunge, only to freeze about a meter away. Luke failed to succumb to the feint, and the ball soon backed off.
(Read more about seeker remotes)

The earliest real-world example of this idea, as far as I know, is the SPHERES program in 2004. Read about it in SPHERES - Mini Satellites Fly In Formation.

Read more about similar technologies in these earlier articles:

  - Personal Satellite Assistant: Servant Of Astronauts And Jedi
  - Astronauts Test Star Wars Remote On Space Station
  - MKV-L Multiple Kill Vehicle Video
  - Nexus S Directs SPHERES On ISS
  - HoverBall Bids Farewell To Ballistic Motion

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