While robotic rovers are busy exploring distant planets, "robonauts" are helping human astronauts conduct research on the International Space Station. In 2011, engineers and ISS astronauts together began the first in-space tests of R2, a humanoid robotic helper. So far, R2 has just the top half of a body, but will be further developed to move through the Space Station, and to travel in a robotic rover on the surface of another planet.
In the LEGO® Robots activity at Howtosmile.org, learners design, build, program and test a LEGO® robot to perform specific tasks. The activity follows a process like that used by engineers developing fullsize robots. Learners who want to take their robotics engineering to the competitive level can learn more from FIRST, which involves hundreds of thousands of students in robotics projects culminating in an international competition.