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NASA's Valkyrie: Pioneering the Future of Space Operations with Robots

NASA's humanoid robot, Valkyrie, is being tested for potential use in space operations. Collaborating with robotics firms like Apptronik...

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BNN Correspondents
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NASA's Valkyrie: Pioneering the Future of Space Operations with Robots

Standing at an imposing 6 feet 2 inches and weighing in at 300 pounds, NASA's humanoid robot, Valkyrie, is currently being tested at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The state-of-the-art robot, named after a mythological Norse figure, is designed to operate in challenging environments that have been damaged or degraded, such as those affected by natural disasters.

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A Vision of Valkyrie Beyond Earth

Yet, the vision for Valkyrie extends beyond terrestrial applications. Engineers believe that humanoid robots like Valkyrie, when equipped with the right software, could perform tasks in a manner similar to humans, handling mundane or dangerous activities in space. This would enable astronauts to focus on higher-level duties like exploration and research. NASA's goal, as emphasized by Dexterous Robotics Team Leader, Shaun Azimi, is not to replace human crews but to relieve them from the dull, dirty, and dangerous tasks.

(Read Also: NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Reveals Unprecedented Images of the Universe)

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Collaboration with Robotics Firms

In this vein, NASA is joining forces with robotics firms like Apptronik, based in Austin, Texas, to develop humanoid robots for industrial purposes. The knowledge gained from these collaborations could inform the design of future space-oriented robots. Apptronik's Apollo robot is crafted to operate in warehouses and manufacturing settings, with the potential to work up to 22 hours a day, thanks to a swappable battery system. The company plans to make these robots accessible to businesses in early 2025.

(Read Also: NASA Alters Asteroid’s Path; Airplane-sized Asteroid Approaching Earth)

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Future Prospects

Apptronik's CTO Nick Paine and CEO Jeff Cardenas have expressed that as software and development continue to advance, the capabilities of robots like Apollo will expand. This includes tasks in unstructured spaces and, eventually, space environments. NASA's interest lies in understanding how to adapt terrestrial robotics technology for the unique challenges of space operations, thus opening up a new frontier in robotics and space exploration.

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