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NASA's development of humanoid robots for space exploration is beginning to take shape

NASA's development of humanoid robots for space exploration is beginning to take shape

Technology development between NASA and robotics company Aptronic enhances vision of humanoid robots in the universe (File)

Human robot Valkyrie This NASA rocket, which is currently undergoing testing at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, may be key to future space exploration. Valkyrie, a robot nearly two meters tall and weighing 136 kilograms, is designed to work in human-designed environments that are degraded or damaged, such as those affected by natural disasters.

The Valkyrie also includes advanced software systems that make it easier for it to process sensory information and perform tasks semi-autonomously, although it can also be controlled remotely by human operators. The US space agency expects that robots similar to Valkyrie will also be able to perform tasks in outer space.

NASA is collaborating with robotics companies, including Uptronic, based in Austin, Texas, to understand how humanoid robots created for terrestrial uses could adapt to future space missions. Among Apptronik's current developments is Apollo, a robot designed for logistics tasks in warehouses and manufacturing plants, such as transporting parcels and stacking pallets.

“Our goal is to have this system online 22 hours a day,” he said. KSL Nick Payne, CTO at Apptronik. “This has a changeable battery, so you can work for four hours, change the battery and then move on in a very quick period.”

Using a replaceable battery, Apollo will operate almost continuously, in preparation for missions in outer space (Reuters/Ivan Garcia)

NASA's Dexterous Robotics team, led by Sean Azimi, suggests that these humanoid robots could perform risky activities outside the spacecraft, such as cleaning solar panels or inspecting faulty equipment, freeing up astronauts to focus on exploration and discovery. “We're not trying to replace human crews, we're trying to get rid of boring, dirty, dangerous work so they can focus on higher-level activities,” he explained. KSL My greatness.

Apollo would offer significant advantages over humans in terms of endurance. Jeff Cardenas, CEO of Apptronik, sees unlimited potential in improving Apollo's capabilities as new software development progresses. “We start in the warehouse and the manufacturing plant, but then we can move into retail… into delivery and what we call unstructured spaces,” he said when consulted by the same outlet.

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In the future, unstructured spaces such as the spatial environment could be included in the areas of activity of these developments. “Robots like Apollo are designed with modularity in mind to adapt to many applications,” Azimi explained. “And this is where NASA is really trying to get that insight — to see what the key gaps are, where we will need to invest in the future to bring a ground system into the space environment and certify it to operate in space.”