They require no food, can last for decades, willingly perform mundane tasks, and can walk in space without a spacesuit. And they’re mostly expendable — if you overlook the cost.
Humanoid robots could make deep space exploration more feasible. As NASA prepares for Endeavour’s last mission, and the final shuttle flight ever by Atlantis in June, space experts are starting to wonder if NASA should rethink its mission. Should future crafts be flown by autonomous bots we control from Earth?
The most advanced humanoid ever created is already in space aboard the International Space Station, after all — just waiting for instructions and the green “go” light from NASA.
Launched on the Discovery space shuttle in February, Robonaut 2 (or R2) is still in parts; only his torso is in space, explained Marty Linn, the GM project manager for R2. (A future mission will bring the rest of his body.)