Feeds

NASA extends olive branch to robots for moon mission

Can't we all just get along?

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Robo Developer NASA intends to get more touchy-feely with robots before they take off for the moon again.

Their attempts to reach out to the robot community really took off in the last few years when NASA changed its exploration focus from the international space station to returning to the moon. They even made an dramatic Hollywood-like "preview" of the mission to prove it. (And if you want to show something is real, Hollywood is definitely the way to go.)

"You probably noticed the majority of the footage is CG," said Terry Fong, a NASA Director speaking yesterday at the Robo Development conference in San Jose. "I guarantee in 10 to 15 years that this can be replaced with real footage."

Unlike the previous Apollo moon missions, NASA will be investing heavily in robotics this time round. And so, NASA developed the Human-Robotics Systems Project which, Fong said. is one of its most heavily funded programs in 10 years.

The main themes of the Human Robotics System program are surface mobility, surface handling, and interestingly, human-systems interactions.

Some are more equal than others

The relations between humans and their robot counterparts are of great importance to NASA. For instance, there's no "side of the road" to threaten to pull a rocket over to if the bots are getting rambunctious. But it goes deeper than that.

"In a traditional interaction, a human is the user and the robot is a tool," said Fong. "This works great for some things, but not for others. We are trying to make humans and robots have more equal roles."

Sounds like dangerous talk. Those who lie down with robots wake up with critical errors.

"When robots run into trouble, they don't ask for help or seek advice. That's something they need to do," said Fong. "Robots will need to overcome these limitations. Robots and humans need to support each other."

Fong believes that for successful space exploration, robots and humans need to function as partners. Robots need to understand how humans work as a team, and humans need to be comfortable functioning with them.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?
How surgery might be making cancer prognoses worse
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Brit balloon bod Bodnar overflies North Pole
B-64 amateur ultralight payload approaching second circumnavigation
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?