Science: Space
Zero gravity space drone   (+3)  [vote for, against]
puff the magic dragon

I was watching one of the SpaceX Dragons about to return to Earth from SpaceLab, and the commentator mentioned they were going to take some outside photos of the space station before they leave, something which had not been done in some years. Looks to me like they need a Space Drone! (I don't mean a big unmanned vehicle, but a little thing with a camera like the quadcopter drones we use on Earth)

Obviously it can't be a quadcopter - it would need a reaction- mass propulsion system like the 'jet pack' thrusters they use during a space walk. A gas bottle and 6 jets ought to do it, with a computer for control, and cameras giving 360 degree images.

It would make a good student project along the same lines as the submarine drone competitions they hold every year.
-- gtoal, Nov 08 2021

The Japanese think of everything gadgety. [neutrinos_shadow, Nov 09 2021]

There's Int-Ball (linky), but I'm not sure if they let it outside. There's also an older, larger "ball with cameras" but Google only gives me copious results for Int-Ball & I can't be bothered sifting through...

Later... should've read the fine print. It uses fans, so no playing outside :-(.
I'm sure the big old equivalent was gas jets, though. I'll poke around later.
-- neutrinos_shadow, Nov 09 2021

random, halfbakery