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NASA's Robot Astronaut Is Getting Legs, But They Don't Resemble A Human's

NASA's Robonaut is impressively human-like. Soon he'll get more capable and way more sci-fi.

Right now, on the International Space Station, NASA's Robonaut is being tested. And while the idea of using a robot to perform future space walks is one that has legs, Robonaut himself currently doesn't. That's set to change in the near future when NASA tests the next version of its robotic astronaut, this time sporting legs that enable him to walk around the station's external structure. The legs have just been revealed for the first time ahead of trials in 2014.

Taking cues from the human body for Robonaut's design works for some purposes—like hands that can flip switches the same way humans do—but human legs get in the way in zero-G. So Robonaut is getting giant, long, bendy legs that can let him maneuver in space very easily and grip the structure of the ISS in a way that should make space walks a breeze.

Neat, right? The adaptation also makes Robonaut look twice as awesome, freakishly tall, and massively more like an extra from a particularly imaginative sci-fi movie.