Can you spell CYLON? NASA wakes up Robonaut 2!

For your Just TOO Cool! file, comes thos from CBC and NASA.

Robot astronaut wakes up in space

NASA’s humanoid robot has finally awoken in space.

Ground controllers turned Robonaut 2 on Monday for the first time since it was delivered to the International Space Station in February. The test involved sending power to all of Robonaut’s systems. The robot was not commanded to move; that will happen next week.

“Those electrons feel GOOD! One small step for man, one giant leap for tinman kind,” Robonaut posted in a Twitter update. (All right, so a Robonaut team member actually posted Monday’s tweets under AstroRobonaut.)

The four visible light cameras that serve as Robonaut’s eyes turned on in the gold-colored head, as did the infrared camera, located in the robot’s mouth and needed for depth perception. One of Robonaut’s tweets showed the view inside the American lab, Destiny.

“Sure wish I could move my head and look around,” Robonaut said in the tweet.

Robonaut — the first humanoid robot in space — is being tested as a possible astronaut’s helper.

The robot’s handlers at Mission Control in Houston cheered as everything came alive. The main computers — buried inside Robonaut’s stomach — kicked on, as did the more than 30 processors embedded in the arms for controlling the joints.

“Robonaut behaved himself,” said deputy project manager Nicolaus Radford. “Oh, Robonaut definitely got an ‘A.’ He won’t be held back a grade, if that’s what you want to know.”

“It was just very exciting,” he said. “It’s been a long time coming to get this thing turned on.”

The robot was delivered on space shuttle Discovery’s final flight. It took this long for the operating software to get up there, and for the astronauts to have enough time to help with the experiment.
1st movements on Sept. 1

On Sept. 1, controllers will command Robonaut to move its fingers, hands and arms.

“It’s been asleep for about a year, so it kind of has to stretch out a little bit,” Radford told The Associated Press. “Just like a crew member has to kind of acclimate themselves to zerogravity, our robot has to do a very similar thing, kind of wiggle itself and learn how it needs to move” in weightlessness.

For now, Robonaut exists from the waist up. It measures one metre tall and weighs 150 kilograms. Each arm is 80 centimetres long.

A pair of legs currently are being designed and should be launched in 2013. [We don’t get to read sentences like that very often.]

Radford said if everything continues to check out well, the robot may be able to take on a few mundane chores — like taking air velocity measurements inside the space station — early next year.

For now, Robonaut — also called R2 — is designed to stay inside the space station. Future versions might venture out on spacewalks, saving astronauts time while keeping them safe.

During Monday’s two-hour test, U.S. astronaut Michael Fossum and Japanese spaceman Satoshi Furukawa took Robonaut from its sleeping bag, placed it on its fixed pedestal, then floated away as ground controllers took over. The robot went back into its bag following the test.

Because Robonaut has some flammable parts, NASA wants it stored in its fireproof bag[Hmmm… flammable experimental space robots on the space station after POTUS kills the manned-space program.  What could go wrong?]

Controllers were tempted to make the robot move, but held off.

“We want to be respectful,” Radford said. “It’s a very complicated piece of hardware.”

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. MyBrokenFiat says:

    Until I start hearing about things like Resurrection Ships or the name “Caprica 6” I’ll withold judgement. LoL.

    In all seriousness, though – wow.

  2. Andy Lucy says:

    “Robonaut — the first humanoid robot in space — is being tested as a possible astronaut’s helper.”

    … and he has a plan. What could possibly go wrong?

  3. Andy Lucy says:

    BTW, he’s the first of the series… does that make him a Cavil? Great… just great.

  4. pfreddys says:

    I’m into the space program, and I am comfortable with technology; but, for reasons I can’t explain this article just gave me the creeps!
    I hope they have a “safe” word for this robot, I dont know maybe: “Klaatu barada nikto. Klaatu barada nikto. …”

  5. Supertradmum says:

    I have two brothers with PhDs in science. One lost his research job last July because of POTUS cuts and another, a solid-state physicist, whose team developed the skin for the shuttle, may have his job cut in December, owing to POTUS. I am all for the challenges of space, as for all time, men and women have been given the gift of creativity to explore and discover God’s wonderful creation. The flammable aspect has me worried, however, as a mum. Could the cuts have caused a halt in such research?–Yes!

  6. Pachomius says:

    I’ll start recording plinky-plonky music and practising my moody, middle-distance stares then.

  7. Martial Artist says:

    Father commented:

    … flammable experimental space robots on the space station …. What could go wrong?

    In January 1967 I was a college student in Los Angeles. In June I got a full-time summer job through my scholarship sponsor (who was also my mother’s employer), at the plant in Southern California which was the headquarters of the prime contractor for the Command and Service Modules of the Apollo spacecraft. The job was reading engineering drawings of the interior of the Command Module—the craft in which the astronauts made the trip from the launch pad to lunar orbit, and from the lunar orbit back to splashdown in the ocean on earty, all the while enclosed in an environment of pure gaseous oxygen at a pressure of 16psia. My task was to examine the bill of materials for each drawing for non-metallic materials present in the components of that drawing, noting the drawing serial number, material type, total weight and exposed surface area of each particular material on that drawing. I then recorded all of the noted data in block letters on a keypunch coding form so that a keypunch operator could create the IBM cards necessary to load that data into a computer database. I was a small cog in one half of the Apollo Non-metallic Materials Group. The other half was busy in a laboratory somewhere burning samples of each type of material and doing thorough chemical analyses of the gases produced by the combustion. Somewhere, I know not where, there was a counterpart group, the Apollo Metallic Materials Group, also divided into two functional subgroups doing the same tasks for all of the drawings, but focused solely on metallic materials. NASA wanted to be able rapidly to identify from the database what components existed in every usage exposed to pure oxygen that were made of any particular material should the subgroups determine that a particular material needed to be replaced by a substitute material because the combustion products of the original material proved unacceptably toxic.

    Why did NASA desire that information at, figuratively, arm’s reach, and why am I mentioning it here? It was on 27th January 1967 that a launch pad fire occured in the Command Module of Apollo 1 where astronauts Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Edward H. White II, and Roger B. Chafee were performing a simulation of the Apollo 1 launch scheduled for the following month. All three died in the fire.

    What, indeed, could possibly go wrong with having flammable materials in an enclosed compartment surrounded on its outside by near perfect vacuum?

    15 years later I served in nuclear-powered submarines, another environment where fires are particularly dangerous, although exposure is to ordinary air at sea-level pressures (about 15psia).

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  8. . . . after POTUS kills the manned-space program.

    I’ve never been able to understand Democrat opposition to spending money on the space program. Since they want to spend money any which way possible, seems right down their alley. After all, this money would be spent on people and products right here on earth.

    Do they, perchance, think “money for space” means it’s actually blasted off and sent into space. Like the Federal Reserve notes they print day and night, dumped (for all I know about high finance) into the Potomac River and floated out to sea.

  9. pseudomodo says:

    Last time this happened it woke up and said, “DANGER, WILL ROBINSON, DANGER!!”

  10. ghp95134 says:

    The crew of STS-134 came to Ames Research Center and briefed us two Mondays ago (they were the one His Holiness talked to), and the crew of STS-135 were out here this past Monday to give a brief. They briefly mentioned Robonaut. I was too distracted by their video and banter; boy! are they polished speakers. One crewman had about 4 Soyuz returns under his belt. Trying to describe a “splashdown” on the stepps of Kazakhstan, he was lost for words …. one of the other astronauts piped in: “It’s called a crash-down!” The auditorium loved it! Apparently even with parachutes and retrorockets, the landing was likened to being “strapped in a car and being dropped twenty feet.”


  11. joecct77 says:

    Cyclons or Skynet?

    If the Robot starts looking like #8, then we have a big problem.

  12. Maria says:

    So VERY impressive.
    I cannot fail to marvel at what the human is able to design when part of an intelligent team who put their abilities to good use.
    This computer (I cannot bring myself to call it a ‘he’) is one of the most impressive inventions I have ever seen.
    I just looked at it working on youtube and the possibilites for its use are immense as it develops and improves over the years.

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