STATES CHRONICLE – Scientists developed a humanoid robot called Valkyrie R5, and they are currently testing it to prepare it for a future Mars landing process. The Northeastern University received from NASA’s Space Robotics Challenge a $2 million robot named Valkyrie Robonaut 5. The tests are performed in a warehouse in Massachusetts. Back in 2015, the humanoid robot reached the Northeastern University, being part of Taskin Padir’s proposal sent to NASA for the Space Robotics Challenge software testing.
Scientists from NASA developed three Valkyrie R5 robots
Taskin Padir is an engineering professor at Northeastern University. Murphy Wonsick, a Ph.D. student at Northeastern University, argued that NASA scientists have done all the work regarding the hardware and now researchers at Northeastern are developing Valkyrie R5’s capabilities. Wonsick claimed that the robot could accomplish several tasks, to move around and make decisions.
Scientists decided to move the humanoid robot to the New England Robotics Validation and Experimentation Center (NERVE), which is a warehouse space conducted by UMass Lowell, outside Boston. Based on the report developed there, the criteria that are tested at the NERVE research site are the following: navigation in tight spaces, bipedal locomotion, and onboard vision systems.
These humanoid robots need to be improved to be able to face Mars colonization
NASA has created three more such humanoid robots. One of them remained at NASA, the second one was awarded as research loans to Northeastern University, and the last one was purchased by the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. According to data provided by NASA, in the final round of the Space Robotics Challenge, each Valkyrie R5 assigned to every team of researchers will be challenged to solve the aftermath of a dust storm which affected a Martian habitat.
Thus, the robots need to align a communications dish, repair a solar array and fix a habitat leak. The Space Robotics Challenge is part of the Centennial Challenges program at NASA which is bound to offer $1 million to the team which will be able to develop abilities of Valkyrie R5’s dexterity to be able to work with astronauts, but also independently, preparing for future Mars colonization.
Valkyrie is known to be a descendant of NASA’s R5 descent, measuring about six feet and weighing approximately 290 pounds. The three institutions which were chosen by NASA to educate these robots are the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Northeastern University and the University of Edinburgh. They are all bound to develop the humanoid robots’ ability to face and solve tough situations during Mars explorations.
Image courtesy of: flickr