Russia develops robot cosmonaut for lunar exploration

Russia is planning to carry out its lunar exploration and colonisation missions with the help of an autonomous humanoid robot.

The developers of the prototype, called Fedor (short for Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research), have released a video showing him engaged in tasks such as driving a car, extinguishing a fire, opening a door with a key and drilling holes in a cement block.

The unit can work autonomously, or it can be fed commands by an "avatar suit" worn by a human operator.

According to Dmitry Rogozin, Putin’s deputy prime minister, the unit will be used for Russia’s space programme, and may undertake its first mission, a journey to the International Space Station, as early as 2021.

Russia has revealed plans to send humans to the moon by 2031. If it did so, the robot would be able to operate outside of the constraints that humans face, but it would have to rely on its own artificial intelligence, or have an operator close by, rather than being controlled from Earth.

It may also have a military application, and could be used in rescue missions.

Image: Fedor shows off "his" DIY skills (YouTube)

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