NASA is collaborating with Texas-based Apptronik, Inc. to develop humanoid robots that can be sent into orbit and even to other planets to assist astronauts in their work. In the not-too-distant future, humanoid robots could become a key element of future space missions.
Apptronik, Inc., working with NASA, is developing a humanoid robot called Apollo. This robot is designed for "earthly" tasks such as logistics, manufacturing and home health care assistance. However, NASA is interested in adapting Apollo and similar robots for use by astronauts in orbit, on the Moon and even on Mars. Moreover, it is possible that one day such robots may become something like remote-controlled “avatars” on other planets: they will be controlled by operators from Earth.
Apptronik paid special attention to the modularity of the Apollo design, in particular its adaptability for logistics tasks. Standing at 5 feet 8 inches (just under 173 cm) tall and weighing 160 pounds (73 kg), the Apollo robot will be able to run for about four hours on a single charge and has a payload capacity of 55 pounds (25 kg). The robot has various functionalities and tools, but the developers believe that its functionality will expand as it develops.
The use of robots in future NASA missions could be critical to establishing a sustainable human presence on the Moon and eventually Mars. This will allow astronauts to devote more attention to scientific research and other more important tasks.
In addition, robots could help operate and maintain mines and production facilities on other planets, reducing the costs of such missions.
NASA is also collaborating with other organizations to develop autonomous robots to explore the surface of the Moon and Mars. These robotics efforts can have a long-term impact on various industries and contribute to the development of the economy as a whole.