Speakers from NASA and Apptronik spoke at this year’s event about the potentially significant role humanoid robots could play in space exploration

Scarlett Evans, Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

March 11, 2024

2 Min Read
NASA and Apptronik say humanoid robots could be instrumental in space exploration

Humanoid robots could one day join astronauts in space as part of NASA’s upcoming missions to Mars and the moon, industry experts said Sunday at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas. 

Shaun Azimi, lead of NASA’s dexterous robotics program and Jeff Cardenas, CEO of humanoid robotics company Apptronik, spoke at this year’s event about their companies’ collaboration to develop humanoid robots to relieve astronauts of dangerous tasks and “expand mission possibilities.”

Speaking at the session, Azimi said humanoid robots could be a “game changer” for lunar missions, but that innovations from across the country would be needed to make it a reality.

"One day, maybe thousands of years from now there will be millions, maybe billions of humanoids that will be out there exploring the stars,” Cardenas said. “This is how we get there." 

The companies first announced their commercial partnership in September 2022, with NASA saying it would be working to commercialize Apptronik’s Apollo humanoid robot. 

While Apollo was designed as a general-purpose robot for industries such as logistics, retail, hospitality and aerospace, last September the pair announced they would be adapting Apollo for space missions.

Under the expanded collaboration, the partners are developing Apollo as an assistant to astronauts living either on space stations in orbit or even those located on Mars or the moon. 

Related:Humanoid Robot Being Adapted for Space Exploration

NASA is currently preparing for its Artemis mission to return astronauts to the moon and establish a sustainable human presence on the moon by 2028. 

As part of the mission NASA also, ultimately, hopes to send humanoid robots to join astronauts, helping establish infrastructure and take on the more labor-intensive and dangerous tasks.

About the Author(s)

Scarlett Evans

Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

Scarlett Evans is the assistant editor for IoT World Today, with a particular focus on robotics and smart city technologies. Scarlett has previous experience in minerals and resources with Mine Australia, Mine Technology and Power Technology. She joined Informa in April 2022.

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