Late last year, NASA’s Rosetta orbiter successfully landed the Philae lander on a comet. A week ago, the New Horizons space probe successfully made a flyby of the former ninth planet of our solar system, Pluto, thus completing a long overdue family picture. Celebrations from this feat haven’t even subsided yet and NASA is looking to pull a hat-trick with the first humanoid robot in space.

Hello, Pluto!

Hello, Pluto!

NASA’s Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation (CoECI), through the NASA Tournament Lab (NTL) has partnered with Freelancer.com to help design a number of CAD models of tools to be used by the Robonaut 2 (R2) on the International Space Station.

R2, the first humanoid robot in space, is an astronaut assistant, and will be manipulating many of these tools and interfaces in its daily chores. The R2 team uses a special supervisory control interface that brings the robot data and model together with tool models in an environment to help with planning. The CAD models that will be developed on Freelancer.com will be used in this supervisory control interface, and will be representative of tools that R2 may use on the ground or on orbit, such as RFID Scanners, Drills, and Scopemeters. NASA’s pilot project is examining the benefits and costs of using crowdsourcing sites like Freelancer.com to perform needed development tasks.

Freelancer.com’s CEO Matt Barrie says, We are honored to welcome NASA to the 16 million strong user Freelancer.com community. NASA Tournament Lab working with Freelancer.com clearly shows that crowdsourcing solutions has become an essential part of creativity and innovation and that there is a strong demand to develop ingenious and world-leading solutions online. We look forward to collaborating with NASA on the cutting edge of space exploration, and seeing the CAD designs our freelancers produce for Robonaut 2.

These NTL challenge contests will reach out to Freelancer.com’s 16 million plus registered users, located in over 247 countries, regions, and territories. NASA is also interested in engaging these online communities going forward in helping to contribute to the efforts of Space Exploration.

You can see NASA’s challenges at www.freelancer.com/contest/challenges/nasa. More will be posted each week.

An overview of the NASA Tournament Lab can be viewed here.

More details about Robonaut 2, and what it does, can be seen on the NASA website here.