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Entries in NASA (1)


Robonaut awakens on International Space Station

If, like us, you live in constant fear of the inevitable robot uprising and becoming a servant to mechanical overlords, then you could find this news a bit disconcerting -- there's now an active humanoid robot orbiting Earth.

However, it's not quite as terrifying as it sounds. Launched by NASA on the last flight of space shuttle Discovery, the bot -- dubbed Robonaut 2 -- was delivered to the International Space Station in February.

Since then he'd been left powered down in a storage bag, but recently he got a wake-up call bringing him to life so that he can work alongside humans both inside and outside the station.

R2 weighs 300 pounds and while he has 'human-like' arms and hands, along with a visored golden helmet, he's currently tethered to a fixed base inside the Destiny laboratory -- though he will later get one leg for moving around the station.

After power was left flowing to the robot for two hours, while engineers on the ground performed checks, he was awoken and "everything came alive," as Nic Radford, Robonaut deputy project manager, put it.

"We started getting video out of Robonaut's eyes. Everything worked exactly as we expected it to. It was a very, very exciting time."

In addition to working with colleagues on ISS, R2 will also be keeping those of us up-to-date via his Twitter account, even if an early update, "Those electrons feel GOOD! One small step for man, one giant leap for tinman kind" sounds a little ominous from where we're sitting.