QUICK QUIZ: How many numismatic items relate to robots? Here's an article from New Scientist where space geeks rejoice over the robotic arm pictured on new Canadian Five Dollar notes. Is this the first numismatic item picturing a robot?
Banknotes often bear portraits of celebrated citizens – but normally they're human. In a giant leap for robotkind, Dextre and Canadarm2, two Canadian-made robots tasked with maintaining the International Space Station, will appear on the new Canadian $5 note, due to enter circulation in November.
From Charles Darwin, who features on the British £10 note, to Abraham Lincoln, who graces the US $5 bill, having your image on a banknote is one of the highest honours a nation can give. The robot arms earned the accolade by being Canada's most famous space travellers until Twitternaut Chris Hadfield.
The 17-metre-long, 1600-kilogram Canadarm2 helped assemble the ISS after it was launched in April 2001. Moving around the station autonomously, it now assists with upkeep and spacewalks, and helps to capture and dock unpiloted craft.
Dextre, meanwhile, arrived in 2008. With two 3.3-metre-long arms on its body, it repairs electronics and other features of the space station, freeing up the human astronauts to do other tasks.
Like the human banknote heroes before it, Dextre is also a pioneer, allowing experiments that could lead to the routine repair of satellites by robots.
As robot fans, we plan on paying for everything with Canadian $5 bills from now on. But it won't be long before a robot earns similar human admiration for its cognitive and social contributions, in addition to mechanical ones. We're looking forward to the first banknote starring a robot prime minister.
To read the complete article, see:
Robot glory as Canada puts space arm on banknote
Wayne Homren, Editor
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