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Jeff Bezos at MARS2018
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos takes a stroll with a SpotMini robot dog. (Jeff Bezos via Twitter)

Amazon’s invitation-only conference on machine learning, automation, robotics and space exploration, also known as MARS, has become an annual tradition marked by billionaire CEO Jeff Bezos’ high-tech high jinks.

Last year, Bezos kicked off the Palm Springs meet-up by taking the controls of a giant robot. Today, he showed up as “Buff Bezos,” accompanied by Boston Dynamics’ four-legged, anxiety-inducing SpotMini robot.

Our invitation must have gotten lost in the mail, but based on the tweetstream, the highlights so far include an Intel indoor drone formation fly-in, emceed by Intel CEO Brian Krzanich … a ping-pong-playing robot … a show-and-tell by Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck, featuring his company’s 3-D-printed Rutherford rocket engine and Humanity Star disco-ball satellite … a sound-converting vest … and an inspirational talk by actor Michael J. Fox.

Here’s today’s gallery, and stay tuned for more about #MARS2018.

Special tip o’ the hat to Arizona State University planetary scientist Lindy Elkins-Tanton.

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