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Inside where NASA's robots and rovers were born [Yahoo News] 13 Apr, 2017
Inside where NASA's robots and rovers were born Video - ABC News

Inside where NASA's robots and rovers were born

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NASA's chief engineer of space-exploration vehicles gives a tour of the think tank at the Johnson Space Center.
21:36 | 04/13/17

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Transcript for Inside where NASA's robots and rovers were born
Hey guys on an Abbas live in New York checked this out we're gonna give you a live look. At something very few people get to see were going to NASA. Inside the lab where all the robots in the robotics systems that we use for space exploration. Are actually is nine and texted. And bill I'm grating that love this stuff let's go live without the Johnson -- banner. We are joined by NASA's chief engineer at space exploration vehicles. Pollution junket Leeson thanks so much for being with us today. Thanks. It's great to be here hello everyone. So we are very excited to get this behind the scenes look where are you now tells little bit about the lab and then let's start showing us the cool. Okay this have day is where we develop a lot of the robotics systems that we used for human exploration. And this vehicles specifically Ryan here is the space space exploration vehicle. It in as a two person. Off road in RB for moon and Mars let me show you around the vehicle. This is the front of the vehicle you see how you count I have a pressurized cabin sit in on top of some wheels that are. Pointed in weird directions because his vehicle can go sad ways. Backwards forwards and it can actually stand in a circle so it makes account a unique we use that so we can dot multiple vehicles together. If you look over here. This is very similar vehicle that we use we take to of these and we take him today it to the desert and we do a lot of test and with scenario that will use on Mars for example when we go to Mars if we landa Omar's and I and a habitat area. We'll take two of these vehicles and will go explore with two of these vehicles and then we will we will come back for a we'll go out for about a week and then we'll come back and resupply. And do that again so if you stay at your home base for about a week you get about 26 of those trips. A year. There are some other special things about the vehicle and one and if you look back here you have a space suit on the back of the vehicle so. You don't have to get out to get in your space suit you actually getting into the space suit from the back. And they'll be two space suits on the vehicle so one person can stay in the vehicle and one person can get out and explore. That's something we learn from the from NASA not to came back from Apollo they were pretty adamant about keeping. All of the dust on the outs that and keep it clean elements sticking up in that let's climb. Yeah outlet if all you in here and maybe you can answer as you show us the inside to you talk to the astronauts when they come back from missions and say hey. What worked what didn't work and how can we make things better at. OK we you know we don't only talk to whom we have them on our teams and they give us feedback in good and good yes we do do. In depth debriefs. But they also they trying in this building here for. Space station so there are always around and we always have access to them to the crew members there'd. Frankly they're just one of us they're just somebody that this trying to build things to. To do human exploration so what are we seeing it to give you a quick. This is so we were showing you the space suit from outs that. So this is the life support system this is the go for the closings your hair off Canada cabin so if you open this. Who opened that and the union. You get here and then that would climb into the food like there. And then. It automatically closes. Your life support system and your hatch. And the one person like and the U could be in here rabbit around while I'm matter on the ground do an exploration. And like I like adds an earlier this is day. A rover for two people. So you have you have you that you haven't told it I'll laugh two beds. You have privacy curtains. And so we've actually taken these two vehicles. To the desert and tested with them for. For weeks and weeks. No reaction hand on I wanna tell you I think it's just about the same size as my very first near city apartment. But I want to ask you. The to this vehicle basically to bring it home for everyone like you're Matt Damon and you're stuck on Mars this is the thing that you're driving around that's why you guys are building that ray. That is a that is exactly why we're where governor right now our mission is to go to Mars. And we will we may use the moon to do a lot of testing so these vehicles will be out of be used don't moon and Mars but we are. We are developing vehicles as we speak to go to my own homeowners. All right so what else do we have in this in this cool place you call your office. Just to do this real quick this is the next generation of cabin you silence the the cabin and you commented this cabin. It is dumb you start to see the flat. The flat glass that is more pressure as a bull. And more hop fidelity. The more have fidelity. Support. Access so this is the next generation so we develop those other two vehicles. Several years ago and now we continue to develop and it is to at a rate and to take the next step. Phillies as you move on to some of the other things I think you've got some broke but not in there to show us. Tell me a little bit about app profit how many generations you go through each of these designs. We go through several also will will go through the first generation. Probably two or three more generations of prototypes. Before we get to develop and what we Kolb a flight unit. And the flight unit goes through a lot of testing and in thermal back more of the environmental test in that we need. To prove that it works on the I'll moon and Mars. And here you have rubber not. This is actually the first the first humanoid that we developed at the Johnson Space Center. The sister. This guy is in the Smithsonian right now. Back in that early 1990s. As we started to. To develop and and think about construct in space station. There was a there was a outfits hey how about we take a suited asked not. Give us that volume and let's build a robot they can work and use the same tools as Nash not and that's where robe and not. Starting with that concept and it has gone through the years but this is they original. It's as though one of the two originals when likeness there was is in this Mazzone but it can use the has the same degrees of freedom as you do. And so it can manipulate tools and it can be yet it's a little bit bigger than a human but it's not bigger than a suited astronaut. And this will lead us as we develop humanoid for space this will lead us all flowed some of the the dangerous are the mind Dane work that. Crew members do it'll let us off loaded onto robots and let. Let the crew members is what they do best of the problem solve and in their brains still didn't let that what exactly is that is a humanoid. And they say you're developing them when are going it. I hit a high humanoid is a robot. That is. It is human life that is critical of that is. And let me say that why you asked that question let me show you is that mom some other human toys. This is to my over here is a spider or not that we developed for. Build in space structures. But we don't know him in the same code that is viewed as. Blew right back and better not what that's not all about how on earth at that you. So a spider or not he. So you'll you'll find out in our current. That we take our inspiration from humans and from animals if you look at this vehicle. It is just like a spider can tread lightly own a spider web. We had this thought that she would take a robot and tread lightly on on a space structure. So you don't have to have all of these attach points on your structure. You would just gracefully walk around on the structure and this prototype here is 13 of this as. Of a real ones so. Right now it's. About. A short person's arms by a and so this is that as think of that as three. 33. Times this and the you can start to imagine that this imagine like a bridge. You could walk on a bridge ray and crawl around on structures that it does it without him Parton all the loads. On one and also. There's the ability to take a robe a knife and put a robot not bow to robot not to this this spider not. Does anybody let us though you can argue for her robe and not spider not. Mash up restaurant units out is so Coolidge signed basically it to say like hey what if we made a robot that looked kinda like a giant spider. And then we matched it with the human looking robot in my getting this like the just appear at your work everyday rain. Right right and and you can always so use that firm. Planetary exploration because as we all know spiders can tread awful lightly on own thing and another. The materials. They dip donate to that about pedal or wheeled vehicle my makes me who is this in front of your rate. This is now offering -- this is and other humanoid we develop this humanoid. And in conjunction with. Department of Defense for. Disaster. Disaster. Relief disaster going in to disasters and and turn in the valve doing the things that we have to do and a disaster where humans. Tango tango if that religion is that just for so they say that on earth to. Yes so. So it it's about panel they can walk around and machetes some hands that that now operating. So evaporated they have several batteries. And so this is Canada hints that look today. Of about Corey hand you can see Al the all the complexity. But guess what it's not really that complex. In the way that we have tendons that go through your wrist. And we have the same carpal tunnel that that humans have we have a lot of motors down here and invade Cologne tendons. That manipulate the fingers you can you can see that tendons right there. So it is down so we take our inspiration from humans. We still lives in it without curry is is being built for what just for space exploration or for use here on earth tit it's. Ed it helps us with space exploration it was it's an earthbound. Robot. But all of the tech a lot of the technology that's in that operate transfers straight over to robe and so it is today it is to help the world in times of disaster. But it's also got all the technology that we need. To do great things own moon and Mars so it and then one this case and that and that terrible catastrophe week it's C. Calgary and several friends who look Kobe can. Out in the bouts. Excuse me prior law say it out and about but you will see it in you'll see it in. In years to come probably in areas of disaster where where humans Cain. Can't go. Say a Fayette nuclear they had nuclear plant that way you have to weigh you've had some type of meltdown Ryan need to go into that plant and and go turnabout to turn water around. Things like that so it's so it's been developed and it's they're mini album across the the country that people are. Are developed and Clinton intelligence don't but to tab Val Perry to space exploration. Here is robe and not. Two dead is actually a duplicate. Of what his own space station so. This is Nam upper body is. The now provide that we develop to win a General Motors has made that automotive industry also has a lot of interest. Having humanoid stance. Can they can be part of the work sale. Com where you don't have robots and and humans you just got to have humans and human knowledge and then we had these legs donut these long long legs that have special in defectors on them. Then they can actually walk around own space station Ingraham hand rails like the dash knots just so they should what does this this is currently. Up there right now on the International Space Station what kind of work does. Here he it do not that they gave gates and. So so so rubber not so its first task it's up there are doing we we have task boards up there that day do. Com do a lot. Change outs but those are Tass boards that we're doing a lot of practice own. Robe and on its first its first dream job is owned Sunday's. Where they clean all the hand rails. The astronauts take town to plane all the hand rails and clean up phone. On Sundays is rubber not going and clean in hand rails because it takes them hours and hours. To do that plane and and that will help them they'll help all flowed some of them. Astronauts. Workload that is broad enough that there were adamantly. Is rubber not what. Is robot not up in the diet that's right now this does it have a name. As rob and I have been saying yes. Oh robot not methods that rove about it and it's just like as nods I guess that's not to have named rove and not weak dollar robe and not our Arctic. Got it MySpace and I just because they're spending somewhat I'm together up there with that your fate given it another nick Davis summed and there. That particular rove and I got. And I am and I'm having a hard time here newstalk if I'm answered questions that it doesn't sound like I know what I'm Doggett about this and that I'm misunderstand in the questions. But let me say this real quick. This is this row of robots Ryan here. It is. Robots that that mentors from the Johnson Space Center teamed up we. About sixty students every year from our local school district to build robots to play in first robotics competition. This year's this year's challenge if you look over here. You will see. You will see them failed some of you will be familiar with this because where we have had a bunch of competitions throughout the country. But there there these balls that you. It you shoot and to. So robots have to pick up these balls and they have to shoot him into those goals. And man they come over here and they picked up. These years. And then they put I'm. They drab around and they put him on the with a pal Ayers yet and and their human players the pick these up. Put them up parent to score points and then at the end of that at the end of the match you go and you hanging two. Two score more points. But this is the first robotics competition that was created bad Dean Kamen back in the 1990s. It has become hugely successful there about pat thousand teams throughout the world and we participate in it and it it's like with. With sixty students here and it takes sixty students to build a good robot and it is it is a phenomenal program for. The future engineers of of American. That's incredible solution can you hear me now because I have a very important question ask you want to make sure you can hear me. Sure acting counting here you. Hope can't let go or go ahead I want to know how long before that you annoy aids and the rope knots and the spider knots. All wake up and decide you know what humans we're in charge now. It wake up and do what it up. In in. Is there any fear look these robots are getting smarter and smarter right are you worried that there is getting it too Smart. And outsmart all you guys who are bill now and then. I think that's one of that I think that they'll take it. Sir it's certainly not in yard life. That we'll see robots get so as smut that they have really taken for themselves. They do it we aren't developing a lot of artificial intelligence. Where robots learn from their environment and Vienna also do things. So. That's Kolb as column we do we college supervised. Supervised operations. Where we supervise a robot and they do really Smart things. Even these Haskell robots in a way have enough answers that they think for themselves they had the age and where they can. Where they can point to a target and cute so robots are becoming really Smart when I don't think they're going to be outsmarting humans in the next. Hundred or 200 years okay I'll take it as as as we. As we wrap this up Amish area Imus said he a couple of other Imus show you a really cool thing that where test in today. There is pretty phenomenal but if we can miss Dave we think it close if you look at the facility as a whole. UC. Crying out that the top and the UC. Strap going down with a bunch bunch of roads and and life support systems on but watch this they have much we walked over. So this is a suited ash not. That is being all floated. It's likely explode and in space. So we have a suited asked not that is we college. All flowed in system gravity Al floating system so we can set it up such that Nash not feels like. There and once he liked their own are earth but that's not hard because you don't need a system that or like there in space was he wrote the or on the moon wit 160 or on Mars with 13 G. So so it. 200 pound person own. Own earth we can make him feel like that there. A 200 of bad that 36060. Pounds. And make it feel like if there own. There on the homeowners. That is an appearance at a look at this led Arab yes that's pretty good that's Franco on. And then. And then another robot they were developed and out of the robotics division is a robot that is is for moon exploration. So. As you can tell that at NASA we do things just like with ya doing your backyard is that we play in San boxes of what to do with these sand boxes. As we test different wheels. And configurations and see how how well they performed in something that is like lunar regular and truthfully. Mason's sand just got a playground sand is pretty good for. Emulate and emulate men Rangel if we cannot regular moon dirt and in so that's that's that's kind of a rap what we're doing here. Locally with robotics it at Johnson. Will mentioned Duncan I have to say I think you have one of the coolest jobs. In the entire world he likely to do. Now I love what I do I've probably have Peco is to in the world that if that's. I would agree with that they keep so much for taking the time today to show us around your office your thank you it then that. Thank you John and everyone have a nice day. But thanks all the folks at the Johnson Space Center and the space exploration lab there may eighth ballot paper watching us while you can always go to abcnews.com. For more they write your for your latest live is for now I'm om and Abbas.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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