When the day finally comes for man to land on Mars, NAO will be ready to accompany them in their exploration of the red planet.
NAO has joined an international crew of analog astronauts, as an 8th member of the crew, for a two weeks simulated mission to Mars. At the Mars Desert Research Station, in the high desert of Utah, the crew performed multiple experiments in the most realistic conditions. NAO acted as their companion and Yoga trainer. He also assisted in a telesurgery experiment.
“In our relatively short, two week mission, we will use the NAO to lay the foundation for longer-term, human / robot interactions studies” said Dr. Susan Jewell, M.D., Executive Officer and Medical Officer. “As the fastest trip to Mars will be no less than eight months duration, one-way, something like the NAO will be a valuable companion for the few-in-number, human crews. We hope to consider the NAO as our eighth crew member by the time we return from a simulated Mars.”
You can learn more about the mission and follow the captain’s blog at http://marscrew134.org/
Robots like the Mars Exploration Rover have already preceded us on Mars, but when the first manned mission is launched, humanoid robotic companions will certainly be part of the crew.