A SpaceX Dragon cargo ship delivered 40 mice, including eight super-sized genetically modified mighty rodents, and 120,000 roundworms to the International Space Station on Sunday. The 3-ton cargo load also included what scientists call a smart “empathetic” robot to conduct experiments at zero gravity. The station commander, Luca Parmitano from Italy, welcomed the load—rodents and all. The mice, which have twice the muscle mass of regular mice, will be used for a bone and muscle experiment. The worms will be used for an agricultural study. The robot, named Cimon, is fitted with sophisticated artificial intelligence software, and will be used to sense the astronauts’ emotions. It is unclear whether fear of rodents is among the feelings the robot is programmed to identify.
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