Robonaut is a NASA robot. It is built to look like a person. Robonaut could help with work in space. Robonaut is currently aboard the International Space Station.
What Does Robonaut Do?
NASA started to work on the Robonaut project in 1996. The newest one is called Robonaut 2, or R2. Robonaut has a head, upper body, arms and hands. Robonaut's head has cameras. They work like human eyes. The hands move like human hands. The fingers move so Robonaut will be able to do many things. Robonaut can use the same tools as an astronaut. Robonaut's upper body can be put on different lower halves. This will let it to move from place to place. One way Robonaut has been tested is with wheels on its lower half.
How Does Robonaut Work?
Robonaut can work in two ways. People can give Robonaut a simple job to do. Robonaut's computer receives the direction. Then Robonaut figures out how to do it. Robonaut also can be run by remote control. A person uses a headset. It lets the person see what Robonaut can see through its cameras. The person can then make Robonaut move by using controls.
What Will Robonaut Do on the Space Station?
Robonaut 2 is aboard the space station. It flew there on the STS-133 space shuttle mission. NASA will see how R2 works in space. If R2 works well, it will keep working in space. It will be given more jobs to do.
What Does the Future Hold for Robonaut?
NASA is not the only group to use Robonaut. General Motors wants to use ideas from Robonaut to make safer cars. GM also wants to use Robonaut to make it safer to build cars.
Robonaut could someday be tested outside the space station. A robot like Robonaut might even go to another world someday.
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David Hitt/NASA Educational Technology Services