The International Space Station is about to receive its first permanent resident, a humanoid robot, named Robonaut 2. R2, as it is nicknamed, can wiggle its fingers and do bicep curls. It can lift and hold four times the weight of any previous attempt at a dexterous robotic assistant. R2 will fly aboard the space shuttle Discovery on Sept. 16.
But R2 won’t be walking around the ISS yet. Instead, this is Stage 1 and R2 is comprised of two highly flexible arms and hands on a torso that will be bolted onto a fixed spot in the space station’s Destiny laboratory.
Stage 2 will see R2 be equipped with a “mobility package” – legs it can use to move around the space station. In Stage 3, R2 will be able to do space walks.
Robonaut 2 is developed by NASA and General Motors.[ via Toronto Star ]