Robonaut 2 activated on International Space Station

robonaut 2 activated on international space stationLate last year we told you about Robonaut 2, the humanoid robot intended to serve as an assistant to astronauts aboard the International Space Station. After making the trip to the space station several months ago aboard one of the final space shuttle missions, Robonaut 2 was finally activated this weeky and began transmitting data to Earth.

Developed as a joint project by NASA and General Motors, Robonaut 2 will spend the next few weeks undergoing tests conducted by the astronauts and the robot’s creators here on Earth. Upon activation, Robonaut 2 tweeted a photo of what it will be looking at for the foreseeable future: a jumble of wires, knobs, and monitors directly in front of its cameras.

(Okay, so we know Robonaut 2 doesn’t actually post to Twitter, but it’s more fun to think the robot is indeed tweeting from space.)

The $2.5 million robot is designed to serve as an assistant to the space station’s six-man crew, and is the first humanoid robot to fly in space. The end goal of the Robonaut project is to develop a robot helper that can assist in complex tasks regardless of environment.

Before you start worrying about Robonaut 2 conducting a mutiny, it’s worth noting that the robot is not a complete humanoid in its current configuration. While it has a head, torso, arms, and hands, it’s currently missing any legs or feet. Instead of legs, it requires an anchor pole to keep it in place.

Still, we should probably keep an eye on it — just in case it decides to trade info with MABEL, the running robot we reported on earlier this week. Those two should consider themselves officially on notice.

Movies & TV

Netflix recruits Steve Carell for the Trump-inspired comedy ‘Space Force’

Steve Carell, Netflix, and The Office showrunner Greg Daniels are teaming up for Space Force, a workplace comedy poking fun at the Trump White House's plans to establish a sixth branch of the U.S. military.
Emerging Tech

In a first for humankind, China is growing plants on the moon

Having recently landed a probe on the far side of the moon, China announced that it managed to grow the first plant on the moon, too. Here's why that matters for deep space travel.
Emerging Tech

A citizen of the universe? Dutch startup wants to deliver a baby in space

Netherlands-based startup SpaceLife Origin plans to be the company responsible for delivering the first baby born in space. And it wants to do it by 2024. Because, you know, science.
Emerging Tech

Robots can now carry out plutonium production process for space exploration

Plutonium-238 is a crucial component in deep space exploration to the outer reaches of our Solar System. The only problem? We've been running low on our stockpiles. Perhaps until now.
Emerging Tech

Lasers and bovine breathalyzer help determine how much methane cows produce

Cow farts and belches don't sound like catastrophic threats, but they contribute to the massive amounts of methane in the atmosphere. Recently, scientists set out to establish the numbers.
Emerging Tech

Researchers discover a way to make 3D printing 100 times faster using light

Researchers at the University of Michigan have invented a new method of 3D printing which is up to 100 times faster than conventional 3D-printing processes. Here's how it works and why it could prove a game-changer for 3D printing.
Emerging Tech

Yamaha’s new app lets you tune your motorcycle with a smartphone

It used to be that if you wanted to tune your motorcycle’s engine and tweak its performance, you needed specialized tools and even more specialized knowledge. Yamaha’s new Power Tuner app changes that.
Emerging Tech

Why wait? Here are some CES 2019 gadgets you can buy right now

Companies come to CES to wow us with their cutting edge technology, but only a few products are slated to hit the market right away. Here is our list of the best CES 2019 tech you can buy right now.
Emerging Tech

Drones: New rules could soon allow flights over people and at night

With commercial operators in mind, the U.S. government is looking to loosen restrictions on drone flights with a set of proposals that would allow the machines greater freedom to fly over populated areas and also at night.
Emerging Tech

Short film celebrates New Yorker’s amazing robot costumes

New York City resident Peter Kokis creates stunning robot costumes out of household trash. His designs are huge, heavy, and extremely intricate, and never fail to turn heads when he's out and about.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Emerging Tech

Want to know which drones are flying near you? There’s an app for that

Want to know what that mysterious drone buzzing over your head is up to? A new system developed by AirMap, Google Wing, and could soon tell you -- via a map on your phone.
Emerging Tech

A Japanese hotel fires half its robot staff for being bad at their jobs

Japan’s oddball Henn na Hotel has fired half of its 243 robot staff. The reason? Because these labor-saving machines turned out to be causing way more problems than they were solving.