Humanoid Robots Tested for Space Missions

The U.S. space agency has given two universities humanoid robots for testing to see how they might be deployed in future space missions.

NASA is interested in robots as either replacements for or assistants to humans in extreme space environments.

The two R5 robots will be tested at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Northeastern University, according to NASA. Those universities were selected based on their performance at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Robotics Challenge.

The R5 stands at just over than 1.8 meters tall and was originally designed to help in disaster relief. It also goes by the name Valkyrie.

The two universities will receive $250,000 per year for two years. The R5 robots will eventually compete in an upcoming “Space Robotics Challenge,” in the hope the universities can develop better software allowing the robots to be used in space missions in a more autonomous way.

Advances in robotics, including human-robotic collaboration, are critical to developing the capabilities required for our journey to Mars.