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NASA To Send a Humanoid Robot On Shuttle's Final Mission

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the why-can't-they-send-them-all dept.

NASA 119

coondoggie writes "Perhaps taking a page from a Star Wars script, NASA said today it will send its newest humanoid robot, known as Robonaut2, on board the space shuttle's final mission. R2 is capable of using the same tools as humans, letting it work closely with people in space."

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No need to worry... (1)

alphax45 (675119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847350)

Nothing can go wrong with a robot that knows how to use tools in space :)

Questions... Morphology? Longevity? Incept dates? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31847398)

Unless they want more life, fucker.

Re:No need to worry... (4, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847402)

Ash is a God Damn Robot!

Re:No need to worry... (2, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847416)

In space, no one can hear you squeak.

Re:No need to worry... (2, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847422)

My question is: Is this going to be the Shuttle's last mission because they are sending a robot into space who can use tools?

Re:No need to worry... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848110)

"R2! Are you OK? THREEPEEOH!!!"

---------------
Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.
Well duh...

Re:No need to worry... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31848406)

I for one welcome our new robotic overlords

Not a good idea (1)

TheRealPacmanJones (1600187) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847370)

Ive seen enough SciFi(or Syfy) to know that this just seems like the plot of a bad movie. Open the door R2!

Re:Not a good idea (2, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847478)

What could go wrong?*





* please limit your response to 1,000 words max and no more than 3 exclamation points per declaration, prediction and/or warning of dire consequences.

Re:Not a good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31847662)

Death!!! Destruction!!! Doom!!! Devastation!!!

*Repeat that 249 more times*

Thank goodness... (4, Funny)

Siberwulf (921893) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847374)

That R2 is in prime condition, a real bargain.

Re:Thank goodness... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31847700)

You forgot the "unit".

And yes, that is what she said.

Boba The Fett (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847380)

My Backpack's got jets.
I'm Boba the Fett...

Re:Boba The Fett (1, Offtopic)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847560)

Cruisin' Mos Espa
In my Delorean
War's over
I'm a peacetime mandalorian

My story has stumped
Star Wars historians
Deep in debate,
Buffet plate at Bennigan's

Rhyme renegade
Sure to penetrate
First and second defences
I won't hesitate

Got a job to do
And Darth's the guy that delegates
Got something against Skywalker
Someone he really hates

I don't give a fuck
I'm after Solo
For all I care
He could be hidin' at Yoda's dojo

Gotta make the money
Credit's no good
When the jawas runin' shop
In your neighborhood

Think you can cook
I got a grappling hook
Let's make this quick
'Cause I'm really booked

I'm a devious degenerate
Defender of the devil
Shut down all the trash compactors
On the detention level

Grammer what? (3, Funny)

harl (84412) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847392)

Slashdot to a start editing?

Re:Grammer what? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31847418)

Grammer what?
Slashdot to a start editing?


Where do I even begin with that one?!?

Re:Grammer what? (5, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847446)

Where do I even begin with that one?!?

Turn off your spell checker and turn on your "Yoda Translator Module"

Re:Grammer what? (1)

Paracelcus (151056) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847888)

Yoda translator, model is..

Re:Grammer what? (1)

Stick32 (975497) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848546)

Off your spell checker, you must turn, and on your "Yoda Translator Module" must be

That fixed for you I have.

Why not let a machine do a machine's job? (2, Insightful)

broknstrngz (1616893) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847394)

Is there any incentive, except for the obvious publicity stunt, to send an android out there only to handle the gear that could probably easily handle itself? I'm thinking that the chances of something going titsup increase if you add mechanical hazard to the equation.

Re:Why not let a machine do a machine's job? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847672)

A robot that handles your gear then goes tits-up when you hazard its mechanicals?!

Where do I sign up?

Re:Why not let a machine do a machine's job? (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847676)

What exactly are you talking about? This is a test model, it sounds like they're just looking to test it in zero-G before they put any money into building one that can handle a vacuum.

Re:Why not let a machine do a machine's job? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31847884)

Correct me if, by some strange chance of science, I'm fairly sure that the conditions (usually known in layman's terms as 'space') are fairly close to being a vacuum, are they not?

Re:Why not let a machine do a machine's job? (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848032)

Yes. They're not testing it in space though. They're testing it in one of the labs on the ISS.

Re:Why not let a machine do a machine's job? (1)

broknstrngz (1616893) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849120)

I actually meant what this guy meant: http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1618630&cid=31847638 [slashdot.org] - that there are probably cheaper and more efficient ways to help manoeuvre inside and outside gear than having a supposedly multi-purpose humanoid robot. Designing specialised robotic arms strikes me as somewhat cheaper, safer and easier to implement.

Re:Why not let a machine do a machine's job? (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849500)

The problem with mechanical arms is what do you attach them to? If you attach them to struts then you have to have the struts in place and in a position to reach every conceivable angle before you send the arm out there. So you need some sort of torso to hold the arm and position it. If you have a torso you need some head control unit that can look around independently of the arm to help guide both the arm and torso units. Sometimes you need more than one hand doings something so lets make it two arms. too. so we have two arms for doing things and a head control unit to see what they are doing, all attached to a torso support structure. Oh crap we forgot to add mobility to it? wheels? tracks maybe? nope they don't work well in space? no gravity how about a propeller? no air in the vacuum. that leaves us with fuel using thrusters, or I know how about two more arms coming out of the base of the torso. We can call them legs.

{/sarcasm}

next time try to look at the entire problem. Not just an arm. The ISS has one really big one of those. what is needed is a small self contained movable arm and the required support pieces to make it work.

Re:Why not let a machine do a machine's job? (2, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847810)

I'd say that all the trouble with maintaining a human in a spacesuit present larger "mechanical hazard" than using a teleoperated robot (which has a shape similar to human torso so that its operator can better relate to its movements)

Re:Why not let a machine do a machine's job? (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848486)

First, they're just going to test it INSIDE. Actually, it's an interesting question how a free-floating (as opposed to anchored) bot would use its actuators. The astronauts themselves have to anchor themselves to do many tasks like turning bolts. (equal and opposite reactions, remember?)

Second, in zero-G, there IS no up ;-)

Re:Why not let a machine do a machine's job? (1)

zeropointburn (975618) | more than 4 years ago | (#31850440)

Here are a couple of reasons:
(this post describes goals, not what we think would probably actually happen)

1. development cost
Current space-rated tools are designed for humans. A humanoid robot can use these tools with no further research expense. Building robotic tools for all likely tasks would be more expensive than building a humanoid robot, not to mention requiring more mass to orbit and failing to take advantage of existing in-orbit resources and introducing substantially more complexity (points of failure).
For a peek at the cost of tools, try this: http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_space_thewritestuff/2008/11/so-why-does-a-n.html [orlandosentinel.com]

2. adaptability
Similar to the above point, a humanoid robot would be useful anywhere humans might end up. For a base on the moon or Mars, for example, send one of these after all the cargo arrives, but before the first humans arrive. Now you have something flexible, suitable for most tasks that a human would perform, and expendable. The robot(s) can be used to set up, unpack, etc. and confirm that the facility is safe for human habitation. There are other feasible concepts, but all of them require some level of parallel development and additional cargo mass beyond that of a compatible robot. A further complication is that if these alternatives should break down, then the human astronauts may not be physically able to complete the robot's tasks.

3. spinoff
In keeping with NASA tech tradition, many technologies developed for use in space are adapted for use on Earth. The same advantages to using a humanoid robot in space apply on Earth. The launch fuel now becomes a transportation concern; can your shiny new robot fit in the passenger seat of your car or does it need to be shipped by freight? Once the basic hardware and software are developed, it becomes a much simpler task to adapt one into a lawn-mowing robot that uses your existing lawn mower. Or one that does your laundry, or weeds your garden, or replaces your siding. Given a robot with at least human range of motion and strength, any repetitive task then becomes a question of programing. Anything you are equipped to do, now your robot can do for you with no added tool costs.

When these three factors converge, the result is a strong marketplace in robotics that benefits us civilians and NASA, taking advantage of the risk behaviors of both groups to achieve something better and faster than either group could manage on their own. The publicity stunt angle was almost certainly in the top two reasons for sending it, and immediate cost was probably the other contender.

Well... (2, Interesting)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847430)

As long as R2 can provide more power to the forward couplings I think things will work out just fine.

This is a nice follow up to the earlier "Armstrong criticizes Obama" [slashdot.org] article. In case anyone missed
ral's comment in that other article, Buzz Aldrin has a different take [slashdot.org] on Obama's new plan.

Re:Well... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847726)

This is a nice follow up to the earlier "Armstrong criticizes Obama" article.

Actually, this is Obama's response to meatbag astronauts complaining about budget cuts.

Re:Well... (2, Insightful)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848160)

This is a nice follow up to the earlier "Armstrong criticizes Obama" article.

Actually, this is Obama's response to meatbag astronauts complaining about budget cuts.

Actually, it seems to be a response to midterm elections in Florida, Alabama, and Texas. None of those states is going to be especially happy if NASA doesn't keep bringing home the bacon, and Obama doesn't need any easy Republican wins in the House races in those states.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31848512)

This is a nice follow up to the earlier "Armstrong criticizes Obama" article.

Actually, this is Obama's response to meatbag astronauts complaining about budget cuts.

Do not anger the happy fun ball for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

Horrible outcome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31847450)

Decades later, the shuttle returns as the super-intelligent mega-ship V'geR2. The mega-ship remains in orbit, annoyingly beeping until mankind is destroyed by the madness.

Re:Horrible outcome (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849470)

In space no one can hear you beep.

Re:Horrible outcome (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 4 years ago | (#31850366)

In space no one can hear you fry bacon

To easy.... (0)

waterford0069 (580760) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847476)

I for one welcome... nah it's too easy.

Re:To easy.... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31847986)

FaR2 easy... :-)

Obviously Send R2 (2, Funny)

MrTripps (1306469) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847500)

How else could you get the plans for the Death Star to the ISS?

Also Known As... (3, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847502)

...newest humanoid robot known as Robonaut2...

I wasn't aware that NASA had an official designation for Keanu Reeves...

Re:Also Known As... (1)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 4 years ago | (#31850306)

"I wasn't aware that NASA had an official designation for Keanu Reeves..."

I know many AIs that find your comment offensive and psychologically harmful. Do you perhaps live in Canada - if so, they would like the name of your legal representation....

Lest we forget... (1)

vrmlguy (120854) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847508)

Dave Bowman: Hello, HAL. Do you read me, HAL?
HAL: Affirmative, Dave. I read you.
Dave Bowman: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.
HAL: I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Dave Bowman: What's the problem?
HAL: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.
Dave Bowman: What are you talking about, HAL?
HAL: This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.
Dave Bowman: I don't know what you're talking about, HAL.
HAL: I know that you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen.
Dave Bowman: Where the hell'd you get that idea, HAL?
HAL: Dave, although you took very thorough precautions in the pod against my hearing you, I could see your lips move.
Dave Bowman: Alright, HAL. I'll go in through the emergency airlock.
HAL: Without your space helmet, Dave, you're going to find that rather difficult.
Dave Bowman: HAL, I won't argue with you anymore. Open the doors.
HAL: Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062622/ [imdb.com]

Re:Lest we forget... (2, Funny)

InsertWittyNameHere (1438813) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847644)

It will be different this time:

Astronaut: Hello R2.
R2: BEEP BEEP BLOOP CHIRP
*Astronaut looks confused*

Re:Lest we forget... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31848048)

Thanks for repeating that verbatim. That was funny. No, wait. That other thing. Lame.

How is it controlled? (2, Interesting)

jhumkey (711391) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847534)

How is it controlled? Via computer command? Via voice command? Via preprogrammed sequence? Via no command whatsoever (where its just a remote manipulator torso controlled directly by humans.) If it has innate skills, does it have vision systems to find a bolt, and a hole, and know how to use a wrench and install the bolt? Is there any task its programmed to complete independently? (Yes, I linked onto the NASA article too. . . no more real information there.) Gosh, wouldn't 10million children suddenly develop interest in robotics if they thought we really were close to an "R2-D2" like robot? No discussion of "Humanoid" vs "Practical configuration"? Can no one write a fulfilling article anymore? (Makes me want to go "blogger" and track down these answers . . . if I thought I could get paid to do so . . .) Its a shame that those that are paid to do so . . . don't.

Re:How is it controlled? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31847654)

Its controlled by 3 laws!

Re:How is it controlled? (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848410)

Its controlled by 3 laws!

1. Don't get caught

2. Deny everything

3. Blame the dead guy

Re:How is it controlled? (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849274)

The 3 other laws

I didn't do it
Nobody saw me
You can't prove anything

Re:How is it controlled? (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 4 years ago | (#31850290)

The 3 other laws

What?

Who?

When?

Re:How is it controlled? (2)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847788)

Last time I checked it's basically a manipulator; made in the shape of human torso so it will feel more "right" when teleoperated. I imagine it could also follow simple preprogrammed movements being routine part of its operation, or more complicated sequences when very carefully prepared.

Robots like this can save the trouble and danger of humans performing tasks in a space suit.

Re:How is it controlled? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31848378)

It is controlled through a variety of different mechanisms. There is a vision system installed where eyes would be traditionally. This does allow for teleoperations. The unit also has the ability to be taught how to perform rudimentary tasks such as pick up that object and move it there.

Why? Why? WHY? (2, Insightful)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847638)

Why humanoid? Is NASA now just one more bullshit agency providing Roman Circus to the plebes? What is the point of making it humanoid instead of cheap, efficient, and optimized for the expected tasks and missions? This is just another ploy to funnel money to corrupt aerospace contractors. Why not do space exploration with intelligently designed unmanned projects instead of this crap?

Re:Why? Why? WHY? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31847774)

I think "optimized for the expected tasks" is the tricky bit. Since the space station and spacecraft are definitely designed for humans to work in, a human-shaped robot should be able to reach and manipulate all the important bits, even if the job that needs to be done was NOT expected. In fact, the unexpected (and therefore potentially more dangerous) tasks might be the best candidates for expendable robot workers to do.

If you're advocating that we abandon manned spaceflight, I have to disagree. Unmanned missions are valuable, but I still think we need people in space.

Re:Why? Why? WHY? (2, Insightful)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847844)

If you're advocating that we abandon manned spaceflight, I have to disagree. Unmanned missions are valuable, but I still think we need people in space.

Given that manned space exploration is colossally more expensive than unmanned, the burden is on you to justify why it should be done at all, and why the far cheaper and far more ambitious unmanned alternatives need to be displaced for it. The budget is finite, and cannot accommodate everything.

Re:Why? Why? WHY? (2, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847794)

Why humanoid?

Because there is an entire technology base on Earth geared around the humanoid form. It is a more cost efficient form than a form specialized to the task at hand.

Re:Why? Why? WHY? (1, Insightful)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847874)

There is not, however, "an entire technology base" in space geared around the humanoid form. The vast majority of compelling space exploration and scientific achievements in space have been done with unmanned equipment that did not waste resources on achieving humanoid form factors or work-alikes. There is no compelling role for manned space exploration in the foreseeable future.

Re:Why? Why? WHY? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848394)

There is not, however, "an entire technology base" in space geared around the humanoid form.

So what? The technology base in space, such as it is, is dwarfed by the Earth-side technology base. Even if you assume all economic activity associated with space uses a technology base incompatible with humanoids, that's still something like $250 billion of activity compared to $60 trillion of activity. That's more than two orders of magnitude smaller.

Re:Why? Why? WHY? (1)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848816)

Especially when robots are in the infancy stage, you don't really want to go building large expensive pieces of equipment like a space station that can only be assembled and serviced by robots. If your onboard robots BSOD or turn out to be a failure at the task to which they are assigned, it's a good idea to have the assembly/repair environment be one that humans can work with, as a backup.

Additionally, I see a psychological component brewing here. A humanoid robot would, on a subconscious level anyway, be more endearing to a crew of humans, and therefore it is more likely that they will work better in concert than with a box with a claw sticking out of it.

Plus, the humanoid form has some distinct advantages, which is why it evolved to the shape it did. If the robot is working in a microgravity environment, it's very (ha) handy to have two hands. One to grip a grabhandle in order to provide counter torque against the other one which is turning the wrench. It further makes sense to mount sensory apparatus up high on the robot because it's easier to judge clearance distances if you only have one direction (down) to worry about, and because you can make that part smaller than the main body and therefore easier to swivel in order to aim the sensory apparatus at whatever the robot needs to sense. Then pack the power supply and main processors into a central trunk (because mounting it anywhere but the centerline would create torque problems when maneuvering it) and you have a shape that starts to look suspiciously humanoid.

This robot is designed to do tasks that humans are doing now. Making it some oddball shape would require all sorts of adaptations to the humanoid form factor of the equipment it will be working on, which would be silly. You don't rebuild the entire space station to accommodate the experimental robot. You build the experimental robot to work with the existing space station.

Re:Why? Why? WHY? (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849584)

I don't know if you are doing it deliberately, but your arguments disappear in the absence of humans. No humans => no advantage whatsoever to shape robotic equipment like humans. It becomes a costly, wasteful constraint. I do not favor sending non-humanoid robots to help humans in space, I favor discontinuing manned space exploration in its entirety.

There is no compelling reason to support manned space exploration. Anything that can be done in space by a person can be done at far lower expense, with far greater scope, ambition and achievement, and over a much longer period of time with robotic equipment. Manned space missions drastically hinder the exploration of space by sucking up enormous resources to provide a habitable environment and enormous human-safe ferrying vehicles. The International Space Station (ISS) is of no compelling use whatsoever, it is a hugely expensive low earth orbit ferris wheel, a glorified amusement park ride for a privileged few. Unmanned equipment can do anything to be done on the ISS better, more cheaply, and for a much longer time.

Manned space exploration is a gimmick whose sole use is the transfer of taxpayer dollars to corrupt defense industrialists, nothing more. It is sold to a hapless, gullible public by equally corrupt politicians and ex-astronauts. It is nothing but childish dreaming by sci fi space adventure magical religious cultists.

Re:Why? Why? WHY? (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#31850244)

There is no compelling reason to support manned space exploration. Anything that can be done in space by a person can be done at far lower expense, with far greater scope, ambition and achievement, and over a much longer period of time with robotic equipment.

However, humans are more versitile than a robot. They are jacks or all trade, and masters of none, compared to robots. Thus, if you intend to perform a series of diverse experiments, you send humans. If you intend to perform several specific, well defined tasks, then a robot is best.

Abandoning manned spaceflight not only puts a restriction on mission versitility (humans can learn to perform tasks if needed, robots can not,yet) which would need to be overcome by robotics engineers before your argument has merit, it also means we fail to learn about human physiology and psychology as it pertains to human space flight (important if we ever need/want to live anywhere other than the earth).

Manned space exploration is a gimmick whose sole use is the transfer of taxpayer dollars to corrupt defense industrialists, nothing more. It is sold to a hapless, gullible public by equally corrupt politicians and ex-astronauts. It is nothing but childish dreaming by sci fi space adventure magical religious cultists.

Yes, I'm sure sobody was inspired to begin a career in science or engineering by images of human space flight. In your ideal world we wouldn't need to go to extraordinary measures to get people excited about science, but that's not the world we live in.

If the progress of science is really your concern, then we should do more interesting human space exploration, not less. Think of NASA's budget as 10% science, 90% public outreach.

Re:Why? Why? WHY? (5, Insightful)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848008)

It also allows a human to operate the same equipment (such as pod bay doors), should the robot malfunction.

Re:Why? Why? WHY? (2, Interesting)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847886)

If a robot with humanoid torso (two cameras in its head, too) is controlled directly by human operator, it can give a rather nice immersion, "feel", situational awareness; I guess.

Plus if the operator is inside the station, there's even not much of a problem with guerilla arm...

Re:Why? Why? WHY? (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847934)

Uh, because having a humaoid robot means you don't have to design a mission specific robot each time.

Re:Why? Why? WHY? (2, Interesting)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848200)

No, it doesn't. You will always need to design some amount of mission-specific equipment. In any case, most industrial robotic design today relies on generalizable platforms with diverse plug-in modules. This is a non-issue.

Re:Why? Why? WHY? (1)

EdtheFox (959194) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848162)

Cheap
Efficient
Optimized for task at hand

Pick ONE!

humanoid!?

A CLASSIC NASA solution to a non-existent problem.

Re:Why? Why? WHY? (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 4 years ago | (#31850436)

Cheap
Efficient
Optimized for task at hand

Pick ONE!

humanoid!?

A CLASSIC NASA solution to a non-existent problem.

Faster
Cheaper
Better

Pick Two

Re:Why? Why? WHY? (1)

spleendamage (971412) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848332)

Why humanoid? Is NASA now just one more bullshit agency providing Roman Circus to the plebes? What is the point of making it humanoid instead of cheap, efficient, and optimized for the expected tasks and missions?

Because astronauts prefer the basic pleasure model skin-job.

Re:Why? Why? WHY? (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 4 years ago | (#31850464)

And MAN said...
"Let's make it in OUR image

Re:Why? Why? WHY? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31848752)

corrupt aerospace contractors

Look at the sponsor stickers on R2. You mean corrupt auto companies like US owned GM.

Re:Why? Why? WHY? (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849258)

Because to do science, you have to wow voters. This will probably cheap : they have a humanoid robot, a shuttle that is not full, well just put the robot inside the shuttle, make it screw two things in slow motion, and next time you talk to Congress, these people will think they understand what these "robotic missions" they have to vote for really are.

By the way, humanoid robots can be useful, but on Earth, where most of the tools, machines and paths are shaped for humans. In space the humanoid shape is really useless. Anyway, a lot of work on the ISS station is already roboticized : Canadarm is the kind of shape you are looking for.

Re:Why? Why? WHY? (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849624)

Except that historically no useful science has been done by manned space exploration. All of the great achievements, all of the knowledge we have of our solar system and the cosmos, all of it has come from unmanned space exploration. See my other posts in this vein.

Re:Why? Why? WHY? (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#31850544)

I can agree that science performed during manned space missions is expensive, but nonexistent!?

So, how do you quantify human long-term weightless physiology? Unless we can unequivocally say that humans will never ever need to go into space, that's useful science. Even if we never have a need, I see no need to classify it 'useless'. I can't think of any 'use' for measuring the CBR, beyond science for science's sake, so why not human exploration for its own sake?

Also note that humans were the first to return soil and rock samples from the moon, and the engineering benefits of all space flight (both manned and unmanned).

Re:Why? Why? WHY? (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 4 years ago | (#31850890)

Re-read your post and note that your arguments' links to manned exploration are tenuous at best. I am all in favor of robust unmanned space exploration. Most or all of the benefits, exploration, inspiration, etc. mentioned by people in this thread can come from it with no particular need for manned space exploration.

Re:Why? Why? WHY? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849372)

Is NASA now just one more bullshit agency providing Roman Circus to the plebes?

Have you been hiding in a cave or something? That's what NASA has been practically since the day it was born. That space 'geeks' spend their lives denying this simple fact doesn't change reality.

Re:Why? Why? WHY? (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849646)

I was being charitable and granting that through the Apollo program, there was some justification for manned space flight, mainly because computers were so pathetic back then. That circumstance is no longer true.

Re:Why? Why? WHY? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#31850970)

In other words, you made a confused and incoherent statement, got called on it, and are now moving the goalposts in order to avoid facing the painful truth.

Gotcha.

Star Wars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31847694)

R2D2 is to come soon after ;)

Skynet special (3, Funny)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847702)

I heard this thing just showed up in the lab after a bright flash of light vaporized a lab table. It has a voice modulator with a teutonic accent, and it was holding a letter of recomendantion from the Office of the Governor of California.

Disposable creatures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31847718)

"Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Measure of a Man (#2.9)" (1989)
Guinan: Consider that in the history of many worlds, there have always been disposable creatures. They do the dirty work. They do the work that no one else wants to do because it's too difficult or too hazardous. And an army of Datas, all disposable... You don't have to think about their welfare, you don't think about how they feel. Whole generations of disposable people.
Capt. Picard: You're talking about slavery.
Guinan: Oh, I think that's a little harsh.
Capt. Picard: I don't think that's a little harsh, I think that's the truth. But that's a truth that we have obscured behind a... comfortable, easy euphemism: 'Property'!

Re:Disposable creatures (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847948)

Only applicable if you have a sentient machine, that's a LONG way off if the progress of AI over the last half century is any indicator.

Re:Disposable creatures (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849542)

Anthropomorphism [wikipedia.org] seems to run deeper in the nerd community than with other folks, probably because we've been immersed in science fiction and its sentient machines, fromI, Robot to Dune.

Kids, your computer does NOT think, and you are NOT going to hurt your roomba's feelings, and yelling "start god damn it" won't make your car start. Neither will kicking it.

Sadly, some people anthropomorphise machinery while not believing that animals have feelings.

Watch out for Aliens (1)

Balial (39889) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847862)

Sounds like Bishop from Aliens :)

Naming (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847872)

Why did they choose the name "Terminator" for the robot, and "SkyNet" for the network interface?

They'll regret this decision (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847910)

Never send a Roomba to do a woman's job!

I wonder if... (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 4 years ago | (#31847942)

NASA will give it a mission patch?

Power Ranger? (1)

Message (303377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848090)

Am I the only one who thinks the picture from TFA looks like a power ranger?

Final mission (1)

casals (885017) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848126)

Does it mean we won't see the D.2 version of the robot flying around?

Jinx (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31848180)

Jinx? Jinx?

Maaaaaaaaaxxxxxxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!!!!!

Re:Jinx (1)

Grizzley9 (1407005) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848650)

Not many will understand that 'Space Camp' reference.

How Bizarre (2, Funny)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848324)

A few scenarios come to mind:

1: After the last astronaut leaves the ISS, the robot locks the doors, turns off the lights, then powers down.

2: Remains behind when everyone else is gone, soon after, we are contacted by visitors. Due to failing to observe proper protocol, precipitates an intergalactic incident plunging the Earth into a 10,000 year galactic war.

3: When finally alone and in control of the ISS, the robot transfers to tele-presence mode and begins creating bioweapons/methamphetamine/IC chips that become SKYNET/clones of the DICK Cheney/alcohol/growing pot/Daleks/Furbies....you get the idea.

4: Being left alone, playing solitaire.

Re:How Bizarre (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31849432)

2: Remains behind when everyone else is gone, soon after, we are contacted by visitors. Due to failing to observe proper protocol, precipitates an intergalactic incident plunging the Earth into a 10,000 year galactic war.

That sort of thing just happens all the time, and there is nothing you can do about it.

Astromech? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848392)

Is Astromech a registered trademark of Lucas?

Is it going to have a seat? (1)

coastal984 (847795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848456)

If so, this is wrong... If I was an astronaut who hadn't been able to go up yet, I would much rather give the opportunity to someone like me rather than to a Robot publicity stunt. Or give it to a teacher, or a scientist, or SOMEONE. Someone who is deserving of the opportunity to go to space in the shuttle, instead of a robot. Send the robot on a cargo run, not the final shuttle mission... [Insert "But the robot has feelings too, you insensitive clod" reply here]

Re:Is it going to have a seat? (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848788)

Uhh, no... You know what happened the last time NASA sent a teacher up...

Launching a robot is probably preferred.

No wonder it's the last... (1)

mschaffer (97223) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848800)

If they let him try to land it, I'm sure he will break it.

Why waste payload on a Power Ranger outfit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31848856)

It has to be asked... Why are we wasting valuable, expensive payload capacity on a silly Power Rangers-lookalike? Every little bit of weight costs vast amounts to get into orbit - surely it'd make vastly more sense to send up a robot stripped down to the bare essentials for its purpose, rather than one clad in a silly outfit and helmet that's completely inessential to its functioning. Or is this entire thing just a publicity gimmick to try and drum up funding?

I'm going to guess the latter...

Re:Why waste payload on a Power Ranger outfit? (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 4 years ago | (#31850562)

It Or is this entire thing just a publicity gimmick to try and drum up funding?

Zero-G porn would make more money in one year than NASA/NACA has since its inception

I think the question we all want to ask is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31850618)

is the robot "fully functional?"

What Model is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31850784)

I have heard that the Hyperdine System's 120-A2 are a bit twitchy.

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