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  • Writer's pictureSamiksha Jain

Humanoid Robots: Ready to Conquer Space Adventures



Houston, Texas: NASA's latest creation, Valkyrie, a humanoid robot standing at an impressive 6 feet 2 inches and weighing 300 pounds, is currently undergoing tests at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Named after a mythical Norse figure, Valkyrie is engineered to work in challenging environments on Earth, like areas devastated by natural disasters.


Robotics for Space and Earth: Although Valkyrie is initially designed for terrestrial tasks, NASA envisions a future where such robots could operate in space. With a human-like structure, including a torso, head, arms, and legs, Valkyrie could perform tasks akin to those of a human. This includes handling risky operations in space, such as cleaning solar panels or checking spacecraft equipment, thus freeing astronauts to focus on exploration.


Shaun Azimi, the leader of NASA’s Dexterous Robotics Team, emphasized that the intent is not to replace human astronauts but to offload the more mundane or hazardous tasks from them. This approach will allow astronauts to concentrate on more critical missions.


Partnership with Apptronik: In its quest to enhance humanoid robots for space, NASA is collaborating with Apptronik, a company based in Austin, Texas. Apptronik's work on humanoid robots for use on Earth provides valuable insights that could benefit the development of space-ready robots.


Introducing Apollo: Apptronik is developing its humanoid robot, Apollo, aiming to deploy it in warehouses and manufacturing plants for tasks like moving and stacking items. Planned to be available to businesses by early 2025, Apollo is designed to operate for long hours, thanks to its swappable battery system.


Nick Paine, Apptronik's Chief Technology Officer, highlighted Apollo's endurance as a significant advantage, enabling it to work for extended periods. Meanwhile, CEO Jeff Cardenas expressed high hopes for Apollo's future capabilities, foreseeing its adaptation beyond industrial settings to retail and delivery sectors, and eventually to more unpredictable environments.


The Future of Humanoid Robotics: NASA and Apptronik are exploring the adaptability and scalability of these robots. The ultimate goal is to develop robots capable of functioning in various settings, including the challenging conditions of space. This forward-thinking approach aims to bridge the gap between Earth-bound robotics and their spacefaring counterparts, marking a significant leap in the field of robotics.


FAQs


Q1. What is Valkyrie, and what is it designed for?

Valkyrie is a humanoid robot developed by NASA, standing 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighing 300 pounds. It's designed to operate in challenging environments on Earth, such as areas affected by natural disasters.


Q2. Who is Apptronik, and what is their role?

Apptronik is a robotics company based in Austin, Texas, partnering with NASA to develop humanoid robots like Apollo for terrestrial tasks, insights from which could benefit future space robots.


Q3. What is the Apollo robot, and what are its capabilities?

Apollo is a humanoid robot being developed by Apptronik, aimed at working in warehouses and manufacturing plants. It's designed for endurance, with a swappable battery system allowing it to operate for long hours.


Q4. When will Apollo be available for use in industries?

Apptronik plans to start providing Apollo robots to companies in early 2025 for tasks like moving packages and stacking pallets.


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