'AstroDrone' App: Dock With International Space Station With A Drone And An iPhone (VIDEO)

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A new app from the European Space Agency gives space fans the chance to simulate docking with the International Space Station using a consumer-grade drone.

The app uses the Parrot AR Drone, which we reviewed (and loved) last year, as the basis for the augmented reality game.

The AstroDrone app involves placing a marker on a real-world object, and then docking it to a graphical version of the ISS in as fast and controlled a manner as possible.

The aim isn't just to have fun, but to help gather data to teach robots about their environment.

"People intuitively assess their position and motion in relation to their surroundings in various ways, based on what they see before them," explained team research fellow Guido de Croon in a statement.

"This new app lets us crowdsource examples of this process in practice, as a first step to reproducing it with artificial intelligence."

He added:

"Here at ESA’s ESTEC technical centre in the Netherlands we happen to have a ceiling-mounted scale model of the Space Station to manoeuvre around – not everyone is so lucky. But with AstroDrone anyone can share the same experience."