Tesla announced last week that they were working on an autonomous robot powered entirely by their Full Self Driving neural network. It’s always Mars.
Robotics and humans have always worked together in space exploration.
The Tesla Bot will be able, if it is successful, to assist humans with many other tasks such as shopping or mowing the lawn.
Humanoid robots from Space, past and current
Many robots have made it to the International Space Station. They are there to see how they co-exist in cramped spaces. This is done to increase the productivity of crewmembers.
NASA and General Motors launched the first humanoid robot that made the trip to the ISS in 2011. Although it was initially not intended to travel to space, the engineers were so impressed by its performance that they built a replica to take to the station.
NASA’s Robonaut program was designed to help in exploring Mars, low Earth orbit and moon. It had a long-term goal of creating a humanoid robot that could travel in space.
Robonaut returned to Earth after a series of power outages over the past few years. There have been some positive initial tests at SpaceX.
Russian space robot FEDOR
Russia’s FEDOR robot is the most humanoid sent to the station. It has done everything, from driving cars to shooting guns. Space was clearly the next step.
Even though it had limited capabilities, it demonstrated its ability move around the station and answer questions from Russian astronauts.
Astrobees and CIMON
Although less human-like than the Tesla Bot, NASA’s Astrobees (ESA) and CIMON are prime examples robots that have already helped astronauts in space. These small, fan-powered robots can fly around the station on their own and allow crewmembers to hand off tasks.
Airbus and IBM created CIMON to enable crewmembers to access IBM’s Watson AI.
The 3 NASA Astrobees have a similar function, but they are a little less primitive. They can search for lost tools or monitor experiments at the space station. Ground controllers have a virtual eye to assist in emergency situations.
Both robots are still on station today and continue to help crews with questions and find lost tools.
Canada’s Dextre robot is located outside of the space station. This robot is another example of robots taking over routine tasks.
SpaceX’s Martian colonization goal
SpaceX may seem like a regular launch provider to someone unfamiliar with Elon Musk’s work. However, SpaceX supplies rockets to governments and companies that wish to launch their creations to space. SpaceX is determined to make the world multi-planetary. SpaceX’s founder and its employees are deeply committed to this mission.
We are beginning to see the company’s Starship launch vehicle develop.
How the Tesla Bot could fit into SpaceX’s mission on Mars
Musk is not going to stop until 2026, even though it seems impossible. This is where Tesla Bot comes into play.
A fully autonomous robot capable of building structures, providing power and aiding in Starship refuelling could be a great miracle worker.
Because of Tesla’s expertise in artificial intelligence, the robot’s development should be much easier. Starship prototypes also used Tesla’s motors to move their flaps.
SpaceX’s mission and Tesla’s work coexist in a strange steampunk-like future only Elon could imagine.