BB-8 at JPL. (via NASA/JPL)
May the 4th be with you... People all over the world fell in love with mini droid BB-8 when the Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released. The little guy stole our hearts so much people flocked to stores to have their own companion for their own home. Even I bought BOTH BB-8 toys... and cut them in half!
See me cut it here: https://youtu.be/-bEMtfAbnb8
While we can expect to see him again in Star Wars: Episode 8, BB-8 can be found visiting the halls of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Back in March, Disney set up the trip for BB-8 and the whole thing was captured on camera. When he arrived, JPL gave BB-8 a visitor badge on a chain, just like with the human visitors. BB-8 happily chripped and blipped down the hall with a tour guide at his side. The little droid saw the labs and met other robots along the way. He also met with disaster-relief robot named RoboSimian for his monkey-like movements. One is even named King Louie, which probably put a big smile on Disney's face. The bot learned Robosimian is made for going into disaster scenarios and can even drive a car. Researchers hope to take the robot into space, which BB-8 wasn't so happy about when he heard the news.
BB-8 made another friend when he met D.R.O.P. Or the Durable Reconnaissance and Observation Platform. It's a tiny bot, about the size of a Hot Wheel that can climb vertically up walls. The bot has small spines on it that helps it climb up surfaces, just like the legs of insects. The tiny robot also carries with it an even tinier camera, so an operator can see the robot's surroundings.
The bot also got its picture taken with an Earthbound replica of the Mars Curiosity rover named Maggie. The replica is used for testing and lives at a part of the label known as the “Mars Yard.” But perhaps BB-8 felt the most at home when he stopped by the Center of the Universe described as the “hub of communications with space missions all over the solar system and even interstellar space,” by JPL. It's reminiscent of the Death Star control room, but not as terrifying.
Aside from making robot friends, BB-8 made a lot of human friends judging from all the pictures taken with the spherical droid. You can check out BB-8's brief field trip in the video posted on Disney's Twitter page. Hopefully, BB-8 makes more field trips in the near future. For now, we'll have to wait and see his continuing adventures when Star Wars: Rouge One comes out December 15, 2017.
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