NASA’s Space Robot Valkyrie

In just a month, teams will guide this 300-pound, 6-foot-tall humanoid robot in a series of simulated trials as part of NASA’s Space Robotics Challenge.

Meet Valkyrie: She’s 6 feet and 2 inches tall, weighs about 300 pounds, and cost $2 million — and one day this humanoid space robot, or more likely her much more advanced descendant, might help humans colonize Mars.

Although that ultimate goal is still a long ways off, Valkyrie, a prototype developed by NASA’s Johnson Space Center, will take her first Martian-specific test next month, as 20 teams guide a simulated version of the robot through a set of scenarios. Winners may take home a hefty prize: $1 million is on the table.

Valkyrie: A Tour

At first sight, Valkyrie looks not unlike Iron Man, the glowing circle on her chest marking her status (blue when motors are engaged, for example). But draw back the infrared-transparent faceplate and instead of Tony Stark, you’ll find a whirring LIDAR sensor that’s constantly scanning the surroundings for objects and obstacles.

 

 

(Image Credit: NASA / IEEE.org)

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