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Meet Clarissa, HAL's better half

Marc Perton

HalOnly four years late, scientists aboard the International Space Station are set to get a voice-responsive computer, which will initially be used to monitor the safety of onboard water supplies. Developers hope to eventually deploy "Clarissa" to handle tasks throughout the station. Proponents are quick to point out that Clarissa is nothing like that other space-station computer. "Clarissa is more friendly and is not going to go renegade on us," says Beth Ann Hockey, a NASA developer, who also serves as the source for Clarissa's voice. We hope she's right. Clarissa is already able to listen in on everything astronauts say aboard the station, something that we seem to recall that other computer using to its advantage. Might be a good idea for the crew to play it safe and bring along a few bottles of Poland Spring, just in case.

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