NASA’s new million Space Robotics Challenge to prepare robots for Mars journey

NASA has opened registration for a new USD 1 million prize competition that seeks to develop the capabilities of humanoid robots to help astronauts on the journey to Mars. The Space Robotics Challenge competition is designed to push the boundaries of robotic dexterity, NASA said. With the technology generated by this challenge, robots could participate in precursor missions to selected landing sites, arriving long before astronauts to set up habitats, life support systems, communications and solar apparatuses, and even begin preliminary scientific research. Teams must programme a virtual robot, modelled after NASA’s Robonaut 5 (R5) robot, to complete a series of tasks in a simulation that includes periods of latency to represent communications delay from Earth to Mars. Though some dexterity has been developed for Earth-based robotics systems using hydraulics,…


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