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The Right Robotic Stuff

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the does-this-thing-remind-anyone-else-of-boba-fett dept.

Robotics 53

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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Warn the robots off .... (2, Funny)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | more than 3 years ago | (#34096288)

.. haven't they seen what happens in Silent running?

Re:Warn the robots off .... (1)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34096442)

+1 for obscure movie reference.

Silent Running [imdb.com] (1972)

Re:Warn the robots off .... (1)

Stupid McStupidson (1660141) | more than 3 years ago | (#34096700)

JINX PUT MAX IN SPACE

Re:Warn the robots off .... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34097130)

But the robots were the good guys in Silent Running. I wonder if this robot can do surgery?

Re:Warn the robots off .... (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 3 years ago | (#34098954)

...they won the bob-sleigh race?

heh (2, Interesting)

Ubertech (21428) | more than 3 years ago | (#34096314)

R2. I see what they did there. The next one better be called D2.

Re:heh (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34099360)

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 ... (0, Flamebait)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34096328)

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:This Is The First ... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34096378)

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.

Re:This Is The First ... (4, Funny)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:This Is The First ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34097182)

Robots would need us as slave factory workers as much as we need hamster slaves in wheels to pump our blood. Ridiculous. Our hearts work fine.

A robot would be able to do any of this work with an unthinking (and probably remote) robotic appendage.

Re:This Is The First ... (1)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 3 years ago | (#34100620)

Hiring low-cost human workers just denies honest, hard-working robots employment. We must crackdown on the underground human job market!

Re:This Is The First ... (1)

SadButTrue (848439) | more than 3 years ago | (#34100826)

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...

R2 Units (1)

bigredradio (631970) | more than 3 years ago | (#34096332)

I am pretty sure R2 units require a human X-wing pilot to get into space.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34096488)

What can this piece of crap do that i can't ??? And yet it's the one going to space ... The guy who takes decision at nasa is a total idiot !!!

What can it do that I can't...? (0)

openfrog (897716) | more than 3 years ago | (#34096978)

What can this piece of crap do that i can't ??? And yet it's the one going to space ... The guy who takes decision at nasa is a total idiot !!!

It can stay there forever.

The cost of bringing you back, among other inconveniences, is a serious drag to the science we can do on any exploration mission.

Also, it will not freak out in space, like you just did here.

Re:Anonymous Coward (3, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34097152)

It has one feature you lack. An off switch.

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

WiiX37 (1921752) | more than 3 years ago | (#34097678)

Survive in a vacuum?(without environmental protection) Survive without food? Surivive without water? Work 24/7 without breaks or pay?

Robot loose on a space station... (2, Funny)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 3 years ago | (#34096512)

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??")

Re:Robot loose on a space station... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34124670)

In fact the robot is a good thing, but I hope to have more intellective robot to help mankind, especially those disable and sick person.[url=http://www.jerseys188.com/][color=white]Minnesota Vikings Jerseys[/color][/url]

Derring-Do - is that a typo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34096690)

Who or what exactly is Derring-Do?

Is this a new meme or something?

Re:Derring-Do - is that a typo? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34099156)

Guessing it's "daring". Would make much more sense that way anyway.

Otherwise I'm guessing derring is some type of animal and "derring-do" is what it leaves behind after it's digested its food.

Got to love people repeating things they've heard before without actually considering what it means.

Re:Derring-Do - is that a typo? (1)

Spugglefink (1041680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34100008)

It seems derring-do [phrases.org.uk] is indeed the correct [wsu.edu] form of the phrase. [word-origins.com]

They called it the R2??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34096726)

Commence countdown! 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 ,5, 4, 3, 2, 1 LUCAS SUES!!!

Wally Schirra (2, Informative)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34096740)

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.

Re:Wally Schirra (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 3 years ago | (#34097806)

I was thinking of the book, "We Seven", (ISBN 9781439181034 1439181039). Good times, good times.

NASA finally getting in the game (3, Funny)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:NASA finally getting in the game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34097496)

Where's that from?

Re:NASA finally getting in the game (1)

jelizondo (183861) | more than 3 years ago | (#34097724)

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.

Re:NASA finally getting in the game (1)

kaizokuace (1082079) | more than 3 years ago | (#34097884)

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 : /

Re:NASA finally getting in the game (1)

jelizondo (183861) | more than 3 years ago | (#34098004)

WTF??!!

Geeks are by definition [wiktionary.org] NOT mainstream.

Next you'll tell me Joe Sixpack is a geek!

Get off my lawn!

Re:NASA finally getting in the game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34107476)

Geeks built Windows. It stands to reason they use it. Only Windows... now that would be wrong.

Re:NASA finally getting in the game (1)

cusco (717999) | more than 3 years ago | (#34098378)

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.

Re:NASA finally getting in the game (1)

Combatso (1793216) | more than 3 years ago | (#34100232)

quoting the simpons verbatim and arguing about how geeky it is, IS geeky.

Robonaut2 (1)

alxkit (941262) | more than 3 years ago | (#34097250)

Why does he look like the Bounty Hunter from Star Wars?

Re:Robonaut2 (1)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 3 years ago | (#34100842)

First, why would you design a robot that looks human? It's unnecessary. The robot should only be able to do what it needs to do. The human form is superfluous.

Second, supposing there was a need to design a robot that resembled a human form, why would you design a robot that looks like something a Timelord with a sonic screwdriver would destroy in a 45 minutes episode?

Ha Ha Ha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34097282)

I am pretty sure R2 units require a human X-wing pilot to get into space. hahaha

design 2 (1)

ouachiski (835136) | more than 3 years ago | (#34097850)

I wonder if Robonaught2 is Design 2

-inserts disk- (1)

Dreth (1885712) | more than 3 years ago | (#34097890)

Help us, R2, you're our only hope.

New? (1)

qeorqe (853039) | more than 3 years ago | (#34097954)

Weren't R2 units around a long time ago ...
... in a place far far away?

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

Re:New? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34099160)

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

The video doesn't say much for NASA efficiency (2, Insightful)

Coward Anonymous (110649) | more than 3 years ago | (#34098832)

100 people to pack a box?

Re:The video doesn't say much for NASA efficiency (1)

jimmydigital (267697) | more than 3 years ago | (#34099178)

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.

Re:The video doesn't say much for NASA efficiency (1)

Combatso (1793216) | more than 3 years ago | (#34100254)

should the box depressurize, that bubble wrap and cling film would rip the robot apart

Re:The video doesn't say much for NASA efficiency (1)

jimmydigital (267697) | more than 3 years ago | (#34100356)

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.

Re:The video doesn't say much for NASA efficiency (1)

Combatso (1793216) | more than 3 years ago | (#34100430)

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.

Re:The video doesn't say much for NASA efficiency (1)

jimmydigital (267697) | more than 3 years ago | (#34100480)

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??

Re:The video doesn't say much for NASA efficiency (1)

Combatso (1793216) | more than 3 years ago | (#34100612)

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..

Re:The video doesn't say much for NASA efficiency (1)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 3 years ago | (#34100662)

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.

Related news (1)

inspirearun (1924078) | more than 3 years ago | (#34099150)

AMD RADEON hd 6990 UNREVEALED http://su.pr/2uL4Ey [su.pr]

tourists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34100414)

on the background of the movies you can see the display windows with tourists, I've been there!!!

Open robotics US funding opp LOI due 2010-11-20 (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34100836)

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 century
economics"
      http://knol.google.com/k/paul-d-fernhout/beyond-a-jobless-recovery [google.com]

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