Education Technology

NASA - Robonaut 2: First Humanoid Robot in Space

Activity Overview

NASA uses robots in many ways to help with space exploration. When it’s possible for robots to perform tasks, rather than people, there are some obvious advantages. Robots do not have to eat, drink, breathe, or sleep. They can perform tasks over and over in exactly the same way without getting bored. And they can also perform tasks that are too dangerous or physically impossible for humans.


Students will:

  • approximate a rate of change from a table of values;
  • predict the graph of the derivative of f(t); and
  • use numerical methods to construct the graph of a first and second derivative.

About the Lesson

This lesson focuses on the Robonaut 2.  Robonaut 2, or R2, moves by performing a series of programmed commands called a script. Engineers and scientists must use knowledge of angles and calculus in order to write scripts for the robots to perform each task as well as keep the robot’s motions safe for nearby humans.