A joint effort between NASA and the University of Edinburgh aims to put a human-like robot on Mars.
Named Valkyrie, the nearly six-foot tall and roughly 275 pound humanoid creation is currently being outfitted with improved physical and computational prowess.
A press release by the University of Edinburgh notes, "Currently, the humanoid machine can walk on two legs and perform basic movements, such as holding and manipulating objects. Researchers will work to give the Valkyrie a much more sophisticated set of skills, enabling it to better understand and respond to its surroundings."
In particular, scientists hope to expand Valkyrie's handling and walking abilities, improve the robot's understanding of its surroundings and maneuverability, and refine its ability to work in close—and safe—contact with humans and other machines.
The release further notes, "The Valkyrie is the only robot of its type in Europe, and one of three prototypes in the world. NASA hopes to equip the Valkyrie to go to the Red Planet many years before astronauts are able to make the journey..."
Professor Sethu Vijayakumar, Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics,said, "Valkyrie is a huge scientific undertaking. We are looking forward to tackling the many technical challenges involved in developing a large-scale humanoid robot, and pushing the state of the art in humanoid robotics."
Related: See recent discoveries on Mars: