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Part of the problem is that the definition of robot can be a bit of a slippery slope. Can a spacecraft which has autonomous docking capability be considered a potential robot for example? If you are counting spacecraft, assume one of each kind you are counting is present.

And for this question, a robot does not necessarily need to be autonomous. A spacecraft remotely controlled could be a robot for this question for example. If something is officially robotic, it's a robot.

To further narrow it down, for this question a robot should have some mobility. It should be able to move or orient itself — or at least appendages or parts of itself — without someone (a human) grabbing it and moving it, or d be able to move/orient another substantial object in a complex manner.

Science packages may have little gizmos that feed animals or mix, aliquot, or titrate liquids for example. If you know of some cool or prominent ones, count 'em!

Routine movement like pumps to periodically circulate fluids (e.g. water) or fans or magnetic pickups on old-style hard drives would not be robots for example.


And don't forget to count the ones that just plain look like robots!

enter image description here

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Here is a selection of robotic equipment that has been at/in/on the ISS, feel free to add additional references:

Honorable Mention:

  • Buzz Lightyear fails the robot test because he was neither autonomous nor remote-controlled.
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    $\begingroup$ I've added everything "robotic" I could find from the Animal Biology and Cellular Biology sections on "The big list" that I linked above, though I certainly wouldn't mind others double-checking. I will proceed with the other sections later, though others are free to peruse them and add from them as well. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Jun 20 '17 at 21:30
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    $\begingroup$ Microbiology and Microencapsulation sections complete. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Jun 21 '17 at 17:02
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh The trouble with the categories of "Experiment facilitation equipment" and "Anthropomorphic robots" (which is what I think you're getting at with "science robots" and "robot-shaped robots") is that they are overlapping categories. I think it would be better if we just listed them and stated in brief what types of robots there were afterward. However, I don't think we should do any such processing until at least the big list is complete. We need to know what we're working with. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Jun 23 '17 at 12:16
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    $\begingroup$ Earth Remote Sensing, Heliophysics, and Near-Earth Space Environment secctions are complete, which concludes the Earth and Space Science category of the big list. Next up is the Educational Activities and Outreach category. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Jun 23 '17 at 18:03
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh I haven't forgotten this list. I've just had a busy July. I'll be back to it soon! $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Jul 23 '17 at 15:40

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