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    NASA's Advanced Robot Ready For Lift-off

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    NTDTelevision

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    NASA's advanced robot is ready for lift-off. Robonaut 2, or simply R2, has hands that can grip ilike human's. And he will be joining passengers aboard space shuttle Discovery when they travel to the International Space Station on Wednesday.

    He may not be as talkative or witty as Star Wars fictional robot R2-D2, but NASA says Robonaut 2 - also known as "R2" - will play an important role on the International Space Station.

    Created at the Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas, R2 is the product of an advanced robotics partnership between General Motors and NASA.

    The robot has hands that can grip objects in the same way as a human, and also has the ability to perform in zero gravity.

    R2's work assignment on the International Space Station will involve assisting human astronauts with ergonomically challenging tasks, as well as jobs that are dull and repetitive.

    Though R2 will be will be confined to the lab for this mission, General Motors and NASA foresee a future version of R2 that will be able to move freely around a space station complex.

    Robots such as R2 may also be useful on Earth, for example performing routine tasks in a dangerous automotive manufacturing environment.

    General Motors and NASA have a long history of working together on key technologies dating back to the 1960s, with the development of the navigation systems for the Apollo missions, and the development of the Lunar Rover Vehicle, which was the first vehicle to be used on the moon.