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Not too long ago it was predominantly the blue collar sector worried about being replaced by robotics, but it appears even astronauts have some competition from our future metallic overlords. NASA will be sending humanoid robot Robonaut2 to the International Space Station to work alongside its human comrades on the next (and theoretically final) space shuttle Discovery mission this September.

Nicknamed R2 (which puts it in good company with certain fictional droids), the NASA and General Motors-built robot has enough manual dexterity in its hands to use the same tools as its human colleagues on the space station. An advancement over earlier humanoid robots sent into space, R2 can lift four times as much weight and work side-by-side with other astronauts.

Beyond all that, Robonaut2 has the distinction of looking almost as cool as Iron Man, and having far more defined abs than most of us. Check out a few more pics below and let us know: how long will it be before robots like R2 are working side-by-side with all of us down here on Earth?

Robonaut2, aka R2

[via Slashdot]

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Tags: discovery, General Motors, GM, International Space Station, ISS, NASA, R2, Robonaut2, robots, space, space shuttle, tech