Thursday, February 16, 2012

One small handshake…as robot greets human commander in space

Image: Robot shakes astronaut's hand

      Good Day Humboldt County!

Our path leads to the stars today, as another piece of space history is enshrined in the halls of science.

I’ve wondered for a long time when this day would arrive, and we’d see robots becoming crew members on space missions.

This kind of thing was science fiction when I was growing up. It seemed like all the comics I read treated robots as threats to mankind. Flash Gordon (who fought his fair share of robots) must be turning over in his grave to see robots helping mankind now! I think the great thing about having them aboard is that they’ll do most of the work while the humans sit around telling jokes and discovering stuff. Hey! I’m just saying…   

“A NASA robot built to ease the daily lives of astronaut in space greeted its human commander with a hearty handshake Wednesday, along with a silent message: "Hello, world."

The historic handshake between man and machine —a first in space —was shared between NASA's humanoid robot, named Robonaut 2, and American astronaut Daniel Burbank on the International Space Station. NASA delivered Robonaut 2 to the space station in February 2011 during the last flight of the space shuttle Discovery. The robot consists of a torso, arms and camera-equipped head. It is 3 feet, 4 inches tall and weighs about 330 pounds. Station astronauts powered up Robonaut 2 in August and have been testing it ever since. NASA also has a twin of the robot on Earth for use in field trials of a wheeled mobile base that allows the automaton to drive around different terrains.” Rest of the story here.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

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