NASA donates two robots for DARPA Mars research and exploration

Two university groups receive their very own Valkyrie robots from NASA as part of the DARPA Robotics Challenge. NASA calls these robots the Valkyrie or "R5" models, as revealed earlier this year as part of the DARPA Robotics Challenge. These robots and their intended purpose are important to the future of beyond-Earth exploration. Both are humanoid so that they're able to "help or even take the place" of astronauts that'd otherwise be working in extreme space conditions and environments.

One of two proposals selected is called "Robust Autonomy for Extreme Space Environments", NASA Unveils Valkyrie for DARPA Hosting R5 at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, led by principal investigator Russ Tedrake. The other is "Accessible Testing on Humanoid-Robot-R5 and Evaluation of NASA Administered (ATHENA) Space Robotics Challenge", Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, led by principal investigator Taskin Padir.

Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) at NASA Headquarters in Washington, spoke up this week at the reveal of both winning teams.

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

"We are excited to engage these university research groups to help NASA with this next big step in robotics technology development."

Above you'll see the video NASA presented earlier this year when the Valkyrie robot was first unveiled for the DARPA Robotics Challenge.

The video you'll see below shows NASA's Kris Verheyen, Chief Engineer with the Valkyrie Project. He speaks about the robot's Mars relations.

You can learn more about the DARPA Robotics Challenge at the Robotics Challenge homepage.