This is the age we live in. We’ve successfully put a cybernetic droid in space to help with missions at the ISS and possibly go on space walks, and the first thing we do is give him a Twitter account. Yesterday, after waiting since February to be powered up, Robonaut 2 has booted and aptly tweeted, “Those electrons feel GOOD! One small step for man, one giant leap for tinman kind.” At least he’s got a sense of humor, or rather the engineers tweeting for him do.
The bot, also referred to as R2 for not only its name but also it’s blatantly obvious nerd cred implications, won’t be fully juiced until next week on September 1st when the ISS crew will start the robot moving it’s appendages and working with the rest of the team. According to Space.com, vigorous tests are being run to ensure that R2 is safe to operate and will remain stable during tasks.
Of course, they’ll also be making sure that Asimov’s three rules are in place just to be sure that R2 doesn’t get any delusions of grandeur and try taking over the space station and crashing it into NASA. Ok, I made up that last part, but if you were in space with a droid that had arms, hands, and a camera for eyes, wouldn’t you be worried that at some point your new companion might start strangling you with its super strong robot hands a la Alien?
The team seems excited to have this robot helper around, and this could be the first step in a whole new direction for NASA to take space exploration. Without having to worry about feeding him or keeping him warm or any other necessities human astronauts require, the deep space implications of R2, and hopefully further iterations where NASA cleverly names it R2D2, are literally endless.