NASA and General Motor’s humanoid robot Robonaut 2 finally made the 264 mile trip to the International Space Station in late February after months of delays. It was finally unpacked yesterday after two and a half weeks in storage and at President Obama’s urging. “I understand that you guys have a new crew member, this R2 robot,” Obama said from the Oval Office. “Are you guys making him do chores up there? Washing the dishes or something? Or does he have more exciting jobs?” When the astronauts admitted they still hadn’t unpacked him President Obama made himself clear. “He’s still in packing foam?” Obama asked with a laugh. “That’s a shame, man. Come on guys, unpack the guy. He flew all that way and you guys aren’t unpacking him?”
NASA wants to see how the robot performs in a weightless environment, but R2 will remain lifeless until testing gets underway in May. At least he’s finally out of that box, but it just goes to show that being first isn’t necessarily useful. They hope that the robot will be able to help with routine maintenance tasks that eat up the human crew’s valuable time. According to NASA, R2’s legs should arrive sometime next year, though based on video footage from last year we’d wager they won’t be ready in that time frame.