The launch of space shuttle Discovery, originally scheduled for today, has been postponed until Friday due to weather concerns. That means that Robonaut 2, or R2, will have to wait another day to become the first non-human crew member to visit the International Space Station. R2 is the latest generation of dexterous humanoid robot helpers designed to assist astronauts with tasks such as repairs, additions to the station or performing scientific work. Before it can go space walking, it’s first job is to teach engineers how dexterous robots behave in space. This is a one way trip for R2, as there are no plans to bring it back to Earth, but it will be keeping in touch with its earthbound friends through its new Twitter account, @AstroRobonaut. When asked if it was nervous about the upcoming mission, it tweeted “Nope, not even a little nervous! I’ve got nerves of aluminum!”
You can see R2 in action at NASA’s website.
Primatologists have recently discovered a new species of monkey in Northern Myanmar (formerly Burma). A report published in the American Journal of Primatology reveals that the Rhinopithecus strykeri is so rare that researchers have yet to see one alive, although locals are quite familiar with them and claim they are easy to find when it rains. The primates often get rainwater in their upturned nostrils which causes them to sneeze when it rains. They spend rainy days with their heads tucked between their knees to prevent droplets from getting in.
Relying on eyewitness descriptions and the study of carcasses, scientists created this image of the animal by editing a photo of a close biological relative, a Yunnan snub-nosed monkey with the characteristics of the newly discovered species. The total population size is estimated between 260 and 330 individuals.