Have you seen a robonaut? One of the most amazing things about traveling into a completely different environment which can be reached only thru imagination is done thru words and photos. Space travel is the most interesting and imaginative thing that could happen to an individual in his entire life.
Stories and proof of landing on the moon would not have been exciting and convincing without the words and pictures shown to the world by the astronauts. They provide us with the most unbelievable experience that no one would achieve in his entire life because their stories are based on real occurrence that could never be followed by anyone.
However, travelling to the moon is not conducive for humans because of their fragile bodies which are not adaptable to the kind of environment in space. With extreme temperatures in the space and without the atmosphere of the earth to protect the astronauts, space travel can take its toll on human beings due to extreme radiation of the sun. The only way for the survival of astronauts in space is by the use of bulky-made space suits that amounts to $12 million each.
However, space suits are not suited for emergencies just like in a situation where the space station is damaged by a powerful object and requires an immediate repair. The process of repairs would take an astronaut many hours by performing a space walk.
Because of this problem, NASA is convinced to produce a robotic kind of astronauts that can perform more difficult tasks in space without the use of space suits and oxygen. These robots called robonauts which can imitate the movements of a human being, are designed to help humans in difficult tasks in space.
Robots have been part of space programs in the past and they provided incredible help in gathering images in the space. The planet Mars has been explored by robots and rovers such as the Mariner IV, which took photos of the red planet at a closer distance. The Pathfinder rover robots enabled scientists to muster realistic details of the surface and atmosphere in Mars in 1997.
The latest robotic astronaut is designed to look like a human being and move like humans. It is made up of a head, with 2 eyes, flexible arms and 5-digit hands. The robot’s head is equipped with 2 small video cameras that convey messages and visual images to the astronaut who is in charge of manipulating the robonaut.
There is a neck connected to the head allowing the head to move in all directions. The central unit of the robot which connects the arms, head and a leg is found in the torso, which also houses the control system. Only 1 leg is attached to the robot just to support the activities of the hands.
The arms are equipped with 150 sensors each and their range is longer than the ordinary arms of a human being. The robot’s hands are powerful that exceeds the movements of an ordinary hand of humans.
In the weightless environment of space, the robonaut’s ability to lift 9 kg of an object is already an astounding strength.