NASA wants to make a C-3PO to help colonize Mars, but that may not be a super idea
Wired - 11/19/2015
Before that, though, the R5 needs to grow out of its clumsy phase—which is why NASA passed their droids off to the roboticists. “We aren’t really focused on what the robots will be doing in space,” says Taskin Padir at Northeastern University, one of the recipients of a shiny new R5. (The other one went to MIT.) “We will focus on things like perception, motion planning, human/robot interactions, and grasping objects.” The challenges don’t stop there, either. R5s need to be able to exit confined areas, stay balanced in rough terrain, walk down stairs, bend over, stand up, and pick themselves up if they fall. “Once we solve these hard problems from a robotics perspective, it’s on NASA’s turf to make them space ready,” says Padir. That’s when NASA swaps out all the hardware with 99.999 percent lighter parts and slaps on radiation shielding.