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GM and NASA's Robonaut 2 to move into international space station

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NASA and GM said on Wednesday that the Robonaut 2 (R2), a 300-pound humanoid robot, will be launched into space and move into the International Space Station. The effort will put a robotic assistant alongside humans.

NASA and GM said on Wednesday that the Robonaut 2 (R2), a 300-pound humanoid robot, will be launched into space and move into the International Space Station. The effort will put a robotic assistant alongside humans.

The R2, which has a head and torso with two arms and two hands, will launch on the space shuttle Discovery in September. At the space station, engineers will monitor how R2 operates in a weightless environment. R2 will joint Dextre, a Canadian Space Agency robot, used for tasks that usually require a space walk.

With Dextre (below) on the exterior of the space station and R2 inside, robots will covering most bases.

As detailed before, R2 is designed to work like a human and use the same tools available to astronauts. R2 doesn't have the protection to work outside the space station, but can be retrofitted for those activities in the future. R2 will be closely monitored on the ground and the space station crew may be given hardware and software to allow R2 to complete new tasks.

In the meantime, R2 will undergo testing for vibration and radiation. Also see GM statement.

Related: Meet R2: Your robotic coworker courtesy of NASA, GM

[See more photos in an image gallery on SmartPlanet sister site ZDNet]

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Larry Dignan

Editor-in-Chief

Editor-in-Chief Larry Dignan is editor-in-chief of SmartPlanet and ZDNet. He is also editorial director of TechRepublic. Previously, he was an editor at eWeek, Baseline and CNET News. He has written for WallStreetWeek.com, Inter@ctive Week, New York Times and Financial Planning. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the University of Delaware. He is based in New York but resides in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure