Feeds

NASA extends olive branch to robots for moon mission

Can't we all just get along?

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball
That's it for God, then – if Comet 67P has got complex molecules
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
'Yes, yes... YES!' Philae lands on COMET 67P
Plucky probot aces landing on high-speed space rock - emotional scenes in Darmstadt
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
THERE it is! Philae comet lander FOUND in EXISTING Rosetta PICS
Crumb? Pixel? ALIEN? Better, it's a comet-catcher!
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.