The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Monday, August 2, 2010

NASA Sending Half a Robot to the International Space Station

Could it be budget cuts you ask? Is it Eric the half a robot? Nope, neither. R2 (short for Robonaut 2) is intended to be just an upper half, at least for now. In space no one can hear you scream ... and apparently legs are not required. R2 is the upper half of a humanoid robot with head, arms, hands, and torso. It has articulated, coordinated arms and hands and camera lens eyes. It'll start its life doing interior work, setting up for major procedures and cleaning up after the humans have done their work and made their messes. In time it'll graduate to outdoor work, like its giant, battery toting cousin already trundling around outside the station, along with the Canada arm. That'll be quite the mechanical trio once they're out there. Do you suppose they'll all sit on the Japanese lab module's "back porch" and grumble about their human bosses at the end of the day?

If you want to learn more about R2, check out the article and link from my buddies at Universe Today: http://www.universetoday.com/68462/robonaut-getting-ready-for-iss-mission-video/

Alas, R2 is to be run from a laptop aboard the ISS. No AI robots doing their own things just yet. Then again, no I Robot moments either.

If you don't understand the Eric reference, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_-vxAFcQIU

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