SpaceX fans are extremely curious about a new robot that keeps appearing on SpaceX’s drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You.” Some are calling it the “Roomba” robot while others insist it should be called “Optimus Prime.” There are theories as to what this robot is for, but there’s no confirmation from SpaceX itself, yet.
We reached out to SpaceX for more details about this mysterious robot, but it was unable to give us any information. However, we can tell you that SpaceX only refers to the machine as a robot and does not assign it any other name (like Roomba or Optimus Prime).
For this video, we connected with some of SpaceX’s fans. Photos shown in the video were taken by Julia Bergeron (@julia_bergeron) and David Akin, University of Maryland.
The animation of how the robot might work was created and produced by Lukas Kowalski who has a YouTube called kNews Space, which features more cool animations. Following is a transcript of the video.
There’s a mysterious robot roaming about on one of SpaceX’s drone ships. Some are calling it the “Roomba” robot, while others refer to it as “Optimus Prime.” No one is certain of its real name or exactly how this robot works, but we do know one thing: SpaceX isn’t giving any details away — yet.
The new machine first attracted attention when it appeared on SpaceX’s drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You” in March. Since then, many SpaceX fans have speculated as to its purpose and function. The leading theory is that this robot helps stabilize Falcon 9 rockets after the first stage touches down so that the rough ocean waves don’t tip the rocket off balance.
If that’s the case, then this robot could save SpaceX a lot of time and effort. Right now, after a rocket touches down on one of SpaceX’s drone ships, SpaceX sends a crew out to the ship to secure the rocket before returning it to shore.
But this new robot could speed up the process. Here’s how that might work:
The robot lives on the drone ship. After a rocket landing, it exits its cubby, drives itself underneath the rocket, and secures the rocket to the ship. Now, the drone ship can immediately head back to shore as it would no longer need to wait for a crew. If SpaceX fans are right, this could be the latest self-navigating robot in SpaceX’s already impressive fleet of self-guiding rockets and self-sailing ships.
Who knows what SpaceX will build next. It probably won’t disappoint.
Read more: businessinsider.com