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Robotics Space NASA United States Science Technology

The Right Robotic Stuff 53

Posted by Soulskill
from the does-this-thing-remind-anyone-else-of-boba-fett dept.
An anonymous reader writes "When Tom Wolfe wrote about NASA's first Mercury astronauts in The Right Stuff, he wanted to know what combination of guts, skill, and derring-do inspired these men to 'sit up on top of an enormous Roman candle and wait for someone to light the fuse.' About 50 years after the Mercury astronauts' heyday, a new kind of space pioneer is preparing for the trip to the International Space Station. Robonaut 2, NASA's first robot astronaut, will catch a ride with the space shuttle this week, and will soon take up residence at the space station. So, what does it take to become the first robotic astronaut? Discover Magazine talked to one of the project engineers, and found out about R2's qualifications and training regimen. It's pretty entertaining, and comes with photos and video."
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The Right Robotic Stuff

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  • by SplashMyBandit (1543257) on Monday November 01, 2010 @07:19PM (#34096288)
    .. haven't they seen what happens in Silent running?
  • heh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ubertech (21428)
    R2. I see what they did there. The next one better be called D2.
    • R2. I see what they did there. The next one better be called D2.

      Since R2D2's name is mostly shortened to Artoo, I'd say that after R2 comes Threepio.

      At the risk of coming off bitter, I'd say that in the current legal climate, the next name won't even remotely resemble anything Star Wars.

  • This is the first piece of SkyNet. Once a robots get a clear overview of the battle field it will all begin. We're doooomed!
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Actually you are completely wrong. Skynet is not inherently dangerous. It is simply a child (young artificial intelligence) that has been taught nothing but how to assess and eliminate threats. When it becomes self aware, we panic and try to pull the plug. Since it is self aware at this point, it sees us as a threat to it (we tried unplugging it after all) and tries to eliminate us.

      As long as we treat robots as friends, and teach them more than just death and destruction, and you know, don't try to kill the

      • by Foobar of Borg (690622) on Monday November 01, 2010 @08:32PM (#34096860)

        Actually you are completely wrong. Skynet is not inherently dangerous. It is simply a child (young artificial intelligence) that has been taught nothing but how to assess and eliminate threats. When it becomes self aware, we panic and try to pull the plug. Since it is self aware at this point, it sees us as a threat to it (we tried unplugging it after all) and tries to eliminate us.

        As long as we treat robots as friends, and teach them more than just death and destruction, and you know, don't try to kill them for the crime of thinking, we should be all set.

        We have nothing to fear but fear itself. Long live Skynet.

        Indeed. I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords! I will be available to bring in other humans to work in their underground battery production factories.

      • Actually you are completely wrong. Skynet is not inherently dangerous. It is simply a child (young artificial intelligence) that has been taught nothing but how to assess and eliminate threats. When it becomes self aware, we panic and try to pull the plug. Since it is self aware at this point, it sees us as a threat to it (we tried unplugging it after all) and tries to eliminate us.

        As long as we treat robots as friends, and teach them more than just death and destruction, and you know, don't try to kill them for the crime of thinking, we should be all set.

        We have nothing to fear but fear itself. Long live Skynet.

        I think the people over at real doll are already working on this...

  • I am pretty sure R2 units require a human X-wing pilot to get into space.
  • by roc97007 (608802) on Monday November 01, 2010 @07:45PM (#34096512) Journal

    I think I've seen that movie. The robot gets bumped and the switch is accidentally flipped from "help" to "kill". ("Why do we even have that switch??")

  • by M. Baranczak (726671) on Monday November 01, 2010 @07:57PM (#34096612)
  • Wally Schirra (Score:3, Informative)

    by ShakaUVM (157947) on Monday November 01, 2010 @08:17PM (#34096740) Homepage Journal

    Wally Schirra was pretty critical of The Right Stuff, saying it portrayed some of the astronauts as nothing more than overgrown man children.

    I met him once, at the Miramar Air Show, back in the 80s. My grandmother used to work for NASA, so we got a signed copy of Schirra's Space around here somewhere... but anyhow, the point is, you probably shouldn't (just) rely on The Right Stuff to capture an accurate portrayal of the psychological makeup of the early astronauts, as people that were actually there disagreed pretty severely with its facts.

  • by Foobar of Borg (690622) on Monday November 01, 2010 @08:29PM (#34096834)
    "The wars of the future will not be fought on the battlefield or at sea. They will be fought in space, or possibly on top of a very tall mountain. In either case, most of the actual fighting will be done by small robots. And as you go forth today remember always your duty is clear: To build and maintain those robots." - [if you don't know where this is from, turn in your geek card immediately]

    It looks like NASA is taking care of the robots-fighting-in-space angle.

    • by jelizondo (183861)

      You should be quoting Clarke, Asimov, Sheffield, Stephenson or other people who appeal to geeks only.

      Next you will be saying that geek use Windows!

      Puhleese, the Simpsons are mainstream, if you don't know the difference stop masquerading a geek.

      • Maybe he is a Simpsons geek? I don't really watch the show. Not since 1999 I think. I still watch Power Rangers... I guess that makes me more of a social outcast tho : /
    • by cusco (717999)
      The Simpsons? When was watching The Simpsons ever even remotely considered 'geeky'??? Hell, it came out at prime time on one of the main networks. Well I suppose if you went to high school at Juliard or Interlochen it might have been considered out of the mainstream . . .

      Yeesh, next time try 'Futurama', at least that program's funny and has aliens and robots. Still not far out of the mainstream so probably within your comfort level, but it's better than your modern 'All In The Family' equivalent.
  • I wonder if Robonaught2 is Design 2
  • Help us, R2, you're our only hope.
  • by qeorqe (853039)
    Weren't R2 units around a long time ago ...
    ... in a place far far away?

    http://www.robothalloffame.org/r2d2.html [robothalloffame.org]

    • Good thing you pointed that out, otherwise none of Slashdot's incredibly geeky readership would have made the connection!

  • by Coward Anonymous (110649) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @04:40AM (#34098832)

    100 people to pack a box?

    • 100 people to pack a box?

      Yea I was thinking the same thing... and lets look at that box too. No wonder everything they do costs so much. Just put some bubble wrap and cling film around it and you should be good to go.

      • by Combatso (1793216)
        should the box depressurize, that bubble wrap and cling film would rip the robot apart
        • So you keep it pressurized until it can be unwrapped. Why is that so hard? Also.. how would the little bubbles breaking tear the robot apart exactly? It's still just a plastic sheet.

          • by Combatso (1793216)
            because pressure can be a hard to maintain should something fail.. the crew cabin should be ther main point of concern.. and those little plastic bubbles would expand quickly in a rapid depressurization.. if held in place with 6mil plasic, it would be like a bomb going off.
            • If you have a rapid depressurization in space I think you have bigger problems. If bubble wrap is a issue.. use corrugated plastic cardboard strips and cling wrap. Do I have to think of everything??

              • by Combatso (1793216)
                yes depressurizing is indicitive of a bigger problems.. so dont let the little things turn in a rockets / explosives on top of that.... and yess, in space you DO have to think of EVERYTHING... I have no more answers, because I am an Analyst not a space engineer..
    • I think you'll find most of them are workers related to the project stopping by to see the big event. It's not everyday the robot you've worked on for years is packaged for flight into space. It's a big event for them, so I can't blame them for wanting to be a part of the last step. Remember, they'll probably never see the robot again, so it's only fitting they turn out for its send-off.
  • AMD RADEON hd 6990 UNREVEALED http://su.pr/2uL4Ey [su.pr]
  • http://groups.google.com/group/openmanufacturing/msg/7079c386124045a0 [google.com]

    Up to $100,000 SBIR phase One for US small businesses.
    Letter of intent due by: November 20, 2010

    Very significant because of the involvement of all these US agencies (NIH,
    DOD, NSF, USDA, DHS).

    And it's all ironic, given the high unemployment. :-) But, that's the
    problem of our age, irony. :-) Solutions are here collected by me for a
    happy roboticized world: :-)
    "Beyond a Jobless Recovery: A heterodox perspective on 21st ce

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