- Materials & Industrial Technology
First Humanoid Robot in Space
A robot is a machine resembling a human being and able to replicate certain human movements and functions. Robots have been in existence since the 1st century AD in one form or another. Since the 1960's there have been robots that are human-like in appearance and take advantage of artificial intelligence programs. One of the most famous was named ASIMO, it was created by Honda in 2000. It can run, walk on uneven slopes and surfaces, turn smoothly, climb stairs, and reach for and grasp objects. ASIMO has even been programmed to recognize up to 10 different faces. In the future they plan on using this technology to assist the elderly and to do jobs that are dangerous to human beings such as fighting fires. And now human-like robots are even going into space.
The first robot astronaut, nicknamed R2, has awakened at the International Space Station. The first thing he did after waking up was to log into his Twitter account to do a little tweeting. His first tweet back to Earth was "Those electrons feel GOOD! One small step for man, one giant leap for tinman kind". If you are interested in keeping up with R2's tweets then you can follow him at @AstroRobonaut.
Apparently, R2 boarded the space shuttle Discovery in February 2011. It took NASA and General Motors 15 years to build the human-like robot. He was designed to work alongside humans inside and outside the station. He weighs 300 pounds and looks very human-like, but he does not have any legs as of yet. R2 is attached to a fixed base. NASA says “Eventually, the torso may be mounted on a four-wheeled rover called Centaur 2 for possible explorations of Lunar and Martian surfaces”.
R2 is the first humanoid robot that has boarded an International Space Station. Two days ago he successfully passed his first training mission. Astronauts checked the state of all systems of the robot and so far everything has passed successfully. His next mission will be in early September, when R2 will try to move.
Unfortunately for us, no one down on Earth will ever be able to meet R2; as he will become a permanent resident at the space station.