NASA’s Space Robotics Challenge asks people to prepare robot for mission to Mars

NASA’s Space Robotics Challenge asks people to prepare robot for mission to Mars

NASA is inviting people to participate in the Space Robotics Challenge that it recently announced. The participant teams will have to program robot named Valkyrie to do three specific tasks that would be required by the robot to perform during an emergency on Martian surface. The winner team will be awarded with $1 million.

The registration to participate into the competition has begun and the final round of it will take place in June next year. In the challenge, the participants would be asked to program the robot to perform three tasks that are making it align a communications dish, repair a solar array and fix a leak in the Hab. Valkyrie is a humanoid robot that NASA would send to Mars before a manned mission. It is also known as Robonaut 5.

A Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency competition resulted into creation of Valkyrie, which is capable to go to places where humans cannot. It was created at Johnson Space Center in Houston in 2013 with an aim to send it to Mars someday. The robot has over 200 individual sensors, 28 torque-controlled joints and four cameras.

“Overnight, a dust storm damaged the habitat and solar array, and caused the primary communication antenna to become misaligned. R5 must now repair an air leak in the habitat, deploy a new solar panel and align the communication antenna”,the challenge rules read. It is not a distant future when the robot will be sent to Mars.

The teams will be facilitated with rover, solar panels and a communication dish to simulate a situation of Martian surface at the place of competition. Teams that will enter final round would be given the same platform to practice their software where they would be performing their final task.


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