Faye Flam for Bloomberg View: And in terms of gathering data, we cant catch up to the robots, which have in recent years been plunging beneath Jupiters thick cloud cover and exploring the exotic moons of Saturn with their methane lakes and roiling ice geysers.
Sandra Erwin for Space News: DARPA pioneered the concept of using robots for in-space repairs and more recently invested millions of dollars in a public-private partnership with Space Systems Loral to build an autonomous vehicle for servicing satellites 36,000 kilometers above Earth.
Evan Ackerman for IEEE Spectrum: In NASA's Space Robotics Challenge, participants had to command a virtual Valkyrie robot to perform a series of repair tasks in a simulated Mars base hit by a dust storm.
Evan Ackerman for IEEE Spectrum: Last year at the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals, NASA announced a new challenge for humanoid robots: the Space Robotics Challenge (SRC), which will “prepare robots for the journey to Mars.” Just like the DRC, the first stage of the SRC will consist of a virtual challenge, run in the Gazebo simulator, followed up by a physical challenge using NASA’s R5 Valkyrie robots.
As of yesterday, NASA has opened registration for the SRC, and we’ll take a look at the format of the competition, the challenges that teams will need to complete, and what they can take home for winning. Cont'd...
ABIGAIL BEALL FOR MAILONLINE: Many people spend their childhood peering up into the vast expanse of the sky, dreaming of growing up to become an astronaut. But these dreams could be dashed as the idea of people venturing into space will one day become a distant memory, according to a report published today. Robots will eventually have enough capabilities to replace humans and other animals on space missions, experts have said. Many missions involving humans in space are dangerous and expensive. But for years robots have been sent to places humans could not venture, like the rovers venturing to the edges of our solar system. According to European Space Agency (Esa) Astronaut Roberto Vittori, who launched a paper on space robotics and autonomous systems, robots can help carry out these dangerous missions. Cont'd...
The Front-end Robotics Enabling Near-term Demonstration, or FREND, flight prototype robotic arm performs fully autonomous grapple testing. This testing demonstrates RSGS on-board processing's ability to track and guide a robotic arm to grapple a launch vehicle adapter ring (left) that is common to many spacecraft designs.
The ST Robotics Workspace Sentry robot and area safety system are based on a small module that sends an infrared beam across the workspace. If the user puts his hand (or any other object) in the workspace, the robot stops using programmable emergency deceleration. Each module has three beams at different angles and the distance a beam reaches is adjustable. Two or more modules can be daisy chained to watch a wider area. "A robot that is tuned to stop on impact may not be safe. Robots where the trip torque can be set at low thresholds are too slow for any practical industrial application. The best system is where the work area has proximity detectors so the robot stops before impact and that is the approach ST Robotics has taken," states President and CEO of ST Robotics David Sands.