NASA’s Robonaut 2 will be the first human-like robot to go to space, and teams from Johnson Space Center have been putting “R2” through a battery of tests to make sure this futuristic robot is ready for its first mission. R2 will become a permanent resident of the International Space Station, and will launch on space shuttle Discovery as part of the STS-133 mission, currently planned for November 1, 2010.
The 136 kg (300-pound) R2 consists of a head and a torso with two arms and two hands. R2 Once aboard the station, engineers will monitor how the robot operates in weightlessness. R2 is undergoing extensive testing in preparation for its flight, including vibration, vacuum and radiation testing. Watch the video for more information on how R2 operates.
While R2 has been in the works for awhile, it also is part of Project M — a project with the very ambitious goal of putting a humanoid robot on the moon in 1,000 days. This project was only initiated in the fall of 2009, and was started by a group of JSC engineers who more or less took matters into their own hands in order to get the Moon. Read a great post from the project manager, Matt Ondler about the history and philosophy of Project M