Monday, November 27, 2006

"NASA Auditions Robots for Lunar Exploration Missions"

This sounds like fun.

In September, several such robots and an autonomous Moon buggy called Scout were put through their paces in the rough desert terrain. During a two-week campaign conducted by NASA's Desert Research and Technology Studies team -- a collection of government, university and industry scientists and engineers known as the Desert Rats -- the robots demonstrated their ability to work side-by-side with space-suited researchers, helping with the kinds of tasks that actual astronauts will have to perform as they begin exploring the Moon and establishing outposts. ...

In addition to Scout, NASA's current line up of field assistants includes a nimble six-legged rover called Athlete, a dexterous humanoid torso on wheels called Centaur, and K-10, a boxy little rover specially equipped for site survey work. ...

"The interaction between robots and humans is very important to me," [NASA Johnson Space Center engineer in charge of the Human Robotic Systems program Chris] Culbert said. "Industrial robots are typically behind barriers and big alarms ring if humans come within 10 feet. Our robots live with the humans."

Wish I could be there.

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