NASA and GM to send human-like robot into space for the first time

Both humans and robots have explored the final frontier, but for the first time a human-like robot is going to be sent into space to aid the astronauts on the International Space Station. Known as Robonaut 2 (or endearingly, R2), the two-armed 'bot is the result of a venture by NASA and General Motors, and will help the researchers involved identify in what ways a robot could be a help to human explorers in space. Before it gets to go on its first space walk, however, it'll be monitored to see how well it deals with weightlessness.

It's worth noting that this isn't really the first "robotic man" to head to orbit, as R2 isn't bipedal — its lower body is commonly a set of four wheels instead of legs. It will be the first time a robot mimicking a human form is sent to help astronauts, however, and as robots are seen as the future of space exploration, it's a pretty big first step. R2 goes up to the ISS in September aboard Space Shuttle Discovery.

Via The New York Times