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Telepresence, Androids, and Space Exploration

13 Jun 2012, 18:15 UTC
Telepresence, Androids, and Space Exploration RSK
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Our culture is replete with examples of androids and humanoid robots in space. From David in Ridley Scott’s brand-new film, Prometheus, to the iconic C-3PO in George Lucas’s Star Wars, androids and humanoid robots are often portrayed as our trusted servants and protectors, capable of tasks we ourselves cannot or will not perform.
Further, the related idea of a person using a surrogate, technological body to survive harsh environments is nearly as old, most recently exemplified by the title character’s lab-grown hybrid body in James Cameron’s recent film Avatar.
These notions are sensible ones for three primary reasons:

Space travel and planetary exploration of any significant distance or duration presents a harsh environment from multiple fronts – psychological, physiological, temporal.
Maintaining a human form-factor means that these androids will be able to use the same equipment and vehicles as has been designed to accommodate the rest of the crew, a clearly efficient attribute.
It has been shown that human beings interact more comfortably in may cases with anthropomorphized machines – easing crew comfort.

Well, it appears that reality is finally catching up to these sci-fi archtypes (or, arguably, proving that by defining our expectations science-fiction often acts ...

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