Posted in | Humanoids

Can Humanoids Replace Human Astronauts?

Published on May 20, 2011 at 12:59 AM

By Andy Choi

Deep space exploration becomes very easy with humanoid robots and space experts are exploring the possibility of future space crafts being flown by robots and controlled remotely from the earth.

Robonaut2 or R2 is a well-equipped humanoid set on space on the Discovery Space Shuttle in February. It is on board the international space station awaiting directions from NASA. Marty Linn, the R2 project manager, stated that they plan to equip the new R2 to work outside the capsule. R2 is known for its deftness it has the ability to move its hands in 12 different ways, twist wrists and arms in 7 directions and utilizes 54 servo motors. Each hand is embedded with sensors that can sense pressure and weight. Minute motor movements are controlled by a distinct torsion spring. The robot is designed with a human head and a dark visor which makes the humans feel the robot is part of the team and helps the technician to control the robot by using a video relay.

Mundane tasks like disinfecting the hand rails on board the service station are something that astronauts dislike; hence it has been proposed to train R2 to perform such tasks. Human robots are surely a boon but NASA asserts that they will be second to humans as far as deep space explorations are concerned. Technically, we have not advanced to the extent that robots can find extraterrestrial life or discover new planets. Unless we advance tremendously in sensor technology, vision technology and have more efficient computers and motors, we cannot expect robots to replace humans.

Source: http://robonaut.jsc.nasa.gov

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