NASA has announced to team up with two universities to upgrade robots for exploring deep space.
The two institutions Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Northeastern University will be given the prototypes of NASA’s ‘R5’ and they will develop algorithms for the robot for future space missions to Mars and beyond.
R5, also known as Valkyrie, is a 6-foot, 290 pound humanoid robot, which was originally designed to aid in disaster relief. But now NASA wants to reequip it for performing physical tasks and for meeting challenges in outer space.
NASA is aiming to send these upgraded humanoid robots as a replacement to astronauts where they will work under extreme space environments. Robots will go to Mars before any humans and they will make sure that everything is okay for humans arrival in planet.
“Advances in robotics, including human-robotic collaboration, are critical to developing the capabilities required for our journey to Mars,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) at NASA headquarters in Washington.
“We are excited to engage these universities research group to help NASA with this next big step in robotics technology development.”
Both the universities were selected from this year’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) robotic challenge and will receive up to $250,000 for two years from STMD. The modified robots will compete in NASA’s upcoming Space Robotics Challenge where they will be tested using robotic stimulations and physical challenges and will be selected for distant space missions.
NASA’s Valkyrie is probably the most sophisticated and capable humanoids of yet. Software is needed to incorporate into its system to perform the desired tasks.
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