A humanoid robot will visit space for the first time in September aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery, NASA announced Wednesday.
The Robonaut 2, which was co-developed by NASA with General Motors, will serve as an assistant to the humans on board the International Space Station, using the same tools developed for astronauts.
While plain old robots, such as the Mars Phoenix Lander, are a major part of NASA's operations, humanoid robots are a different story. There is significant science-fiction appeal to the idea of humanoid robotic helpers for humans, but does the idea makes more than literary sense? Yes, said Jeffrey Hoffman, an MIT aerospace professor and former astronaut.