General Motors ‘R2’ Robot To Live Aboard Space Station

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Robots… in… spaaace! General Motors and NASA have developed Robonaut 2, affectionately called “R2” to appeal to Star Wars fans, no doubt. Unlike the little garbage can on wheels, this R2 looks like it’s ready to do some pushups, smooch your girlfriend on the cheek for just long enough that you become uncomfortable, and then arm wrestle someone.

The robot isn’t quite as tough as it looks, though, as the current prototype version scheduled to be shuttled to the ISS in Septermber “lacks adequate protection needed to exist outside the space station.”

Instead, it’ll be confined to the space station’s Destiny Laboratory where astronauts will test it in zero gravity and use its “human-like hands and arms” to manipulate tools in the hopes of one day being able to function “as an assistant or stand-in for astronauts during spacewalks or for tasks too difficult or dangerous for humans.”

R2 will join Canadian robot “Dextre” which permanently lives outside the space station and uses its “two, long arms to perform tasks that normally require spacewalking astronauts to complete.”