This robot is looking pretty pleased with itself – and wouldn’t you be, if you were off to the International Space Station? Prototype cosmobot SAR-401, with its human-like torso, is designed to service the outside of the ISS by mimicking the arm and finger movements of a human puppet-master indoors.
In this picture, that’s the super-focussed guy in the background but in space it would be a cosmonaut operating from the relative safety of the station’s interior and so avoiding a risky spacewalk. You can watch the Russian android mirroring a human here.
SAR-1 joins a growing zoo of robots in space. NASA already has its ownRobonaut on board the ISS to carry out routine maintenance tasks. It was recently joined by a small, cute Japanese robot, Kirobo, but neither of the station’s droids are designed for outside use.
Until SAR-401 launches, the station’s external Dextre and Canadarm2 rule the orbital roost. They were commemorated on Canadian banknotes this year – and they don’t even have faces.