Photo Puzzle: Unscramble this End Effector

In this scrambled image is an end effector, which is something that can grab or manipulate objects, for the end of a robotic arm. End effectors are being used in space right now.

  • On the International Space Station, the Remote Manipulator System, also known as Canadarm2, is used to assist in the docking of spacecraft.
  • NASA’s humanoid robot, Valkyrie, which was built here at NASA Johnson Space Center, has fingers dexterous enough to turn the pages of a book.
  • On Mars, there are landers and rovers, including InSight and Curiosity, drilling through and collecting samples of the Martian surface to help us better understand the red planet.

These examples demonstrate how much of an impact end effectors have on our ability to explore outer space.

We’ve got two challenges for you: unscramble this photo puzzle and design an end effector! 

In our latest Innovation Gateway Challenge, design a model robotic arm and try to move items from one location to another. Challenge winners can select from two general admission tickets to Space Center Houston or a virtual chat with a NASA astronaut.

Learn more and enter the challenge!

In this image:

STS039-19-015 (28 April- 6 May 1991) — This STS-39 35mm scene shows the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO) Shuttle Pallet Satellite (SPAS-II) on the end of the remote manipulator system (RMS) end effector. During the eight-day flight, SPAS collected data in both a free-flying mode and while attached to the RMS.

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