• Question: What can humans do in space that robots can’t?

    Asked by Tamsin to Andrea, Charlie 🚀, Col Op, Kirsty, Vinita on 17 Jun 2016.
    • Photo: Kirsty Lindsay

      Kirsty Lindsay answered on 17 Jun 2016:

      Great question.
      Real people have 2 main advantages over robots-
      1. they can think and make decisions in seconds. This means that they could change what they are doing if something unexpected happens.

      2. they have feelings and can describe their experiences in ways robots can’t.

    • Photo: Andrea Boyd

      Andrea Boyd answered on 20 Jun 2016:

      Decision making – robots have fixed sensors and even though they are better than ours, perhaps looking at a rock they wouldn’t see certain features nor think to look under it nor put together a series of thoughts based on past knowledge to extrapolate something logical that just happens in an instant with humans – our brains are pretty amazing.

      Robots need a lot of repair and maintenance. Ok, humans need food and environmental control too but robots normally need humans to fix them very often! I’ve never worked on a site that doesn’t require active maintenance of automated machinery plus there are regular breakdowns.

      But overall, if robots could be made more robust and intelligent and dexterous then we could outsource lots more space tasks. The current ones are not great in space… Better space robot engineers needed! (maybe a future career?)