Unmanned exploration and colonization of space by humanoid robots – androids – might seem like science fiction, or the far future, but could soon be a reality. Spectacularly timed with Obama’s proposed 5-year NASA budget – which cancelled the Constellation Moon Program and aimed to also privatize the significant cost of manned launches, among other things – NASA and GM announced their creation of Robotnaut2 (R2). GM and NASA have technologically-collaborated several times before, including the Apollo Missions and Lunar Rover Vehicle. While GM aims to reap the technological benefits in automobile robotic manufacturing, NASA clearly declared its intentions to use Robotnaut2 technology to jumpstart a "bold new era of space exploration".
You might ask – “Robonaut2? Was there a Robonaut1?”, and yes, there was. Robonaut1 was first developed by 10 years ago by NASA and DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), but tragically never left Earth. While R2 still sports a copper helmet and a white body similar to R1 of a decade ago, it is said to be much more dextrous and versatile, and stronger than its predecessor – it can lift a 20-pound dumbbell with ease. This might just be one small step for science, but a giant leap for mankind. But, seeing as we could soon be flinging Robonaut1 and its successors into planetary (and maybe one day interplanetary and galactic) space this is probably a bigger leap for automata!