NASA has a humanoid robot on board the International Space Station (ISS). Named as Robonaut 2, it is the first robot inside a human space vehicle operating without a cage and first to work with human-rated tools in space. The Robonaut 2, which looks like a cross between C-3PO and theMichelin Man, was recently named NASA’s government invention of the year for 2014.
The Robot was built by NASA and General Motors to perform tasks on the space station, as well as in the automotive industry. NASA states, the major advantage of humanoid design is that Robonaut can take over simple, repetitive, or especially dangerous tasks on places such as the ISS. It also states when the astronauts are free from doing repetitive tasks, they can spend more time on research and critical work on the ISS.
NASA is working on multiple iterations of the Robonaut, including a version called the Centaur. It’s essentially a beefed-up version of the Robonaut, attached to a Mars-rover-style set of wheels.
(Image Source NASA)