NASA's Valkyrie Humanoid Robot Tested for Future Mars Colonization
NASA originally designed the Valkyrie (R5) humanoid robot several years ago to compete in DARPA's disaster-relief robotics contest, and now the agency is looking for outside expertise to craft it into a kind of space mechanic on Mars. The robot is the first step toward a goal of human colonization of Mars. In 2015, NASA shipped three Valkyries to Northeastern University, MIT, and Scotland's University of Edinburgh to test the robot's capabilities in various hostile environments. Northeastern University is currently testing their model at the New England Robotics Validation and Experimentation (NERVE) Center - a warehouse filled with challenging obstacle courses designed to test robots and drones. Robotics and engineering students are putting Valkyrie's skills to the test and have further developed its capabilities. The robot's ultimate Mars test will take place this summer when 20 teams will compete for a $1 million prize in NASA's Space Robotics Challenge, designed to place Valkyrie in a Martian disaster scenario.