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NASA Robotics Space Technology

NASA's Robonaut Gets Its Legs; Could a Moonwalk Be In Its Future? 63

Posted by samzenpus
from the walk-like-a-man dept.
MarkWhittington writes "Project M was a proposal at NASA's Johnson Spaceflight Center that would have put together a mission to deliver a bipedal robot to the lunar surface within a thousand days. The idea never got out of the conception stage, but two major components, a new type of lunar lander, now called Morpheus, and a robonaut continued on as separate projects. Morpheus is getting ready to conduct a second attempt at free flight tests at the Kennedy Space Center. The first attempt resulted in the destruction of the prototype vehicle. If the second round of tests is successful, NASA will have a spacecraft that could deliver 1,100 pounds of payload to the lunar surface. While a copy of Robonaut 2 is still undergoing tests on board the International Space Station, ABC News reports that a cousin of the mechanical person has been built with legs. It stands eight feet tall and weighs 500 pounds. With two major components of Project M nearing completion, could a robonaut become the next moon walker?"
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NASA's Robonaut Gets Its Legs; Could a Moonwalk Be In Its Future?

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  • Are legs really required for EVA?
    • Wheels would be a lot better. Once the rover was made available, our moonwalkers hopped in it and took off exploring. No legs just eliminates the middle man. Before we know it, we'll have software developers fused to our chairs and fed through tubes as to increase efficiency.
    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Are legs really required for EVA?

      "Giant steps are what you take. Walking on the moon.
        I hope my legs don't break! Walking on, walking on the moon..."

  • Gigglesnort (Score:2, Offtopic)

    but two major components, a new type of lunar lander, now called Morpheus, and

    (puts on sunglasses) What if I told you... There is no money to go to the moon?

  • Er, guys? (Score:3, Funny)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday November 10, 2013 @09:52PM (#45387793)

    The first attempt resulted in the destruction of the prototype vehicle. If the second round of tests is successful,

    It's times like these I wonder if the html BLINK tag was retired too early. Because that's a very, very big 'if', so big in fact that the atrocity that was BLINK might be justified. But not marquee, because screw you Microsoft. Sinner!

    • That "if" is big enough to justify blink, marquee and strong tags. It's like if I tell you that I'm going to audition for a movie next week. Last time I practiced I accidentally set my hair on fire, but if I do well next week I'll be a big star.

  • When the Martian rovers do so well on wheels? The wheel works, the leg is fiddly and invert-pendulumy. We have enough issues getting shit put into orbit and sent off to Mars/Moon/Alpha-Centauri, why are we dicking around with legs?

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      When the Martian rovers do so well on wheels? The wheel works, the leg is fiddly and invert-pendulumy. We have enough issues getting shit put into orbit and sent off to Mars/Moon/Alpha-Centauri, why are we dicking around with legs?

      Well, Neil Amstrong took only a small step.
      Meanwhile, police alleged that giant steps is what you take walking on the moon; someone need to prove the allegation.

  • That is, if you're going to send a remotely guided robot to the moon, is a bipedal walker the best choice?

    As opposed to a conventional wheeled or even a quadrupedal rover.

    I assume a bipedal walker is going to need sophisticated stability control (computational and mechanical) for every step it takes over rough terrain that a simple wheeled vehicle can just roll over.

    • Control: We seem to have a bit of a problem, sir.

      HQ: Does it need a firmware update again?

      Control: Not exactly, sir.

      HQ: Well, then what? That's a multi billion dollar project you're talking about there, son. It's quite autonomous.

      Control: Well. It fell over. Sir.

  • I wonder how they test this robot's ability to walk, considering that the moon's gravity is 16.6% of Earth's. Or are they taking that into consideration in the programing (and will simply adjust the code later, when on the moon)? Seems cool that gravity would be an item, coded into the robot's functions.
    • by cusco (717999)

      Don't know about this particular one, but I've seen fractional G modeled by putting the test subject under water or suspending the excess weight from wires. Both those options would mess with testing stability though.

  • Why not just send Big Dog or Atlas? I'm sure they can come up with a power solution since the 2 stroke motor wont run.
  • What's it with the impersonation? A deeper insight into the the psyche of NASA.

    Anyways; -- hands up! -- Anyone thinks that additional survey of the moon is
    going to bring any significant discoveries?!

    • by cusco (717999)

      Let's say that you were an alien geologist dropped onto Earth. You get a couple of weeks to explore, with almost no equipment more complex than a rock hammer, an area smaller than Central Park in New York and bring back a total of a couple hundred kilos of samples for analysis. That's what we managed with Apollo.

      Hands up anyone who thinks that there's nothing more to discover?

  • Then it's creepy robots molesting little boys.
    Then it's creepy little-boy-molesting robots paying for someone to have "his" kids.
    Then it's creepy little-boy-molesting robots who paid for someone to have "his" kids OD'ing on prescription drugs!

    Just say NO man!

  • Robonaut's legs are designed for walking around the space station in microgravity, so they would be useless in gravity

    BUT, the same people working on robonaut are building a female humanoid robot for the DARPA robotics challenge, which could very well walk on the moon

  • Read Society Of The Mind [amazon.com] by Eric Harry, an awesome book about 8 foot tall robot astronauts and other AI themes.

  • An astronaut moves through space.
    An aquanaut moves through water.
    So does a robonaut... move through robots?

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