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US President Donald Trump to make special Earth-to-space call from the Oval Office on April 24

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Washington April 20, 2017: US President Donald Trump will make a special Earth-to-space call from the Oval Office to personally congratulate NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson for her record-breaking stay aboard the International Space Station on April 24, NASA has said.

Trump will be joined by daughter Ivanka Trump and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins for the 20-minute call which will air live on NASA Television and stream on the agency’s website and Facebook page at 10 a.m. EDT.

Commander of the station’s Expedition 51 crew, Whitson will officially set the US record Monday for most cumulative days in space, surpassing NASA astronaut Jeff Williams’ record of 534 days.

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Additionally, she is the first woman to command the space station twice, and holds the record for most spacewalks conducted by a female astronaut.

Whitson will be joined for President Trump’s call by NASA astronaut Jack Fischer, who is scheduled to arrive at the orbiting laboratory on Thursday.

The call will be made available to schools, museums, and other organisations across the nation and globally, NASA said in a statement on Wednesday. (IANS)

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SpaceX Delivers AI Robot With Ice Cream And Brown Mice

SpaceX's capsule reached the station three days after launching

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SpaceX Dragon is pictured about 30 meters from the International Space Station before being captured minutes later at its capture point of 10 meters from the station.
SpaceX Dragon is pictured about 30 meters from the International Space Station before being captured minutes later at its capture point of 10 meters from the station. VOA

The International Space Station got its first robot with artificial intelligence Monday, along with some berries, ice cream and identical brown mice.

SpaceX’s capsule reached the station three days after launching from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Station astronaut Ricky Arnold used a large mechanical arm to grab the Dragon capsule as the spacecraft soared above Quebec, Canada.

The nearly 6,000-pound (2,700-kilogram) delivery includes the round robot Cimon, pronounced Simon. Slightly bigger than a basketball, the AI robot from the German Space Agency is meant to assist German astronaut Alexander Gerst with science experiments. Cimon’s brain will constantly be updated by IBM so its intelligence — and role — keep growing.

There are also genetically identical mice for a study of gut bacteria, and super-caffeinated coffee aboard the Dragon to go with the fresh blueberries and ice cream.

“Looking forward to some really exciting weeks ahead as we unload the science and get started on some great experiments,” Arnold told Mission Control minutes after snaring the Dragon.

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Artificial Intelligence. Pixabay

When informed it was the 30th cargo ship to be captured by the station’s robot arm, Arnold said, “It’s hard to believe … how far we’ve come. It’s quite an accomplishment.”

Most of those visiting vessels have been provided by private U.S. companies hired by NASA to keep the space station well stocked.

Mission Control said it was fitting that the latest capture occurred over Quebec; the station’s robot arm is Canada’s contribution.

Also read: Scientists Track Chinese Space Station as It Falls to Earth

Besides Gerst, the 250-mile-high (400-kilometer-high) lab is home to three Americans and two Russians. (VOA)