NASA: Humanoid robot slated to live on space station
Discovery set to deliver 300-pound Robonaut 2, jointly built by NASA and GM, this fall
Computerworld - Astronauts aboard the International Space Station are slated to get an interesting new roommate later this year.
A 300-pound humanoid robot, dubbed Robonaut 2 (R2), will be transported to the space station aboard the NASA space shuttle Discovery in September -- one of the final scheduled shuttle missions. Jointly developed by NASA and General Motors Corp., the robot will become a permanent resident on the orbiting station.
"The use of R2 on the space station is just the beginning of a quickening pace between human and robotic exploration of space," said John Olson, director of NASA's Exploration Systems Integration Office, in a statement. "The partnership of humans and robots will be critical to opening up the solar system and will allow us to go farther and achieve more than we can probably even imagine today."
Robonaut 2 consists of a helmeted head, a torso, two arms and two hands, and wheels to transport itself. GM noted that the robot's hands are designed to use tools already aboard the station for use by the astronauts there.
The robot will first be confined to a limited space inside the station. However, GM said that it could later be adapted to work throughout the station, as well as outside it to assist astronauts during spacewalks.
The R2 device is just the latest robot to be used as part of NASA's space exploration projects.
A robotic arm on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander craft has made significant discoveries on the surface of Mars, such as finding that there is water ice on Mars.
Each of NASA's space shuttles has a robotic arm and there is one onboard on the space station. The arms are used to lift massive objects out of the shuttle's cargo bay and transfer them to to the space station. The arms can even be used to transport NASA astronauts across the space station during spacewalks.
In an interview late in 2008, a NASA official told Computerworld that future of space exploration will depend on humans and robots working together as manned and unmanned missions head back to the moon, to Mars and beyond.
Robonaut 2 will be the first humanoid robot that will stay at the space station. NASA hopes the effort will provide better insight into how robots and humans can work hand-in-hand on future space missions.
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is email@example.com.
Read more about Emerging Technologies in Computerworld's Emerging Technologies Topic Center.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Shifting Gears: The Value of Customer-Driven Quality in Manufacturing In today's competitive manufacturing market, the customer must be the center of the quality universe. This paper details how manufacturers can improve customer...
- Aberdeen Group: Marketing Analytics for Manufacturing: Forging Customer Insights There are no recalls for poor marketing. Manufacturers need to get their customer intelligence and messaging right the first time. Learn how.
- Unlocking the Promise of Demand Sensing and Shaping through Big Data Analytics Many organizations have limited insight into big data. These limitations have significant opportunity costs and can have a negative effect on identifying and...
- The Brave New World of Customer-Centric Manufacturing The Unique Opportunity for Manufacturers to Better Understand their Consumers
- Webinar: Building a Big Data solution that's production-ready Big data solutions are no longer just a nice-to-have.
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well... All Emerging Technologies White Papers | Webcasts