NASA Tests Humanoid Robot Valkyrie for Use on the Moon
NASA is conducting tests on the humanoid robot Valkyrie for potential use on the Moon. As part of an agreement with Woodside Energy, a company based in Perth, Western Australia, NASA plans to utilize the robot for remote monitoring of unmanned offshore and maritime energy assets. Woodside Energy will test the robot's software and provide NASA with data and feedback to accelerate the development of robotics technology.
This is mentioned in NASA's statement.
The collaboration with Woodside will also allow Valkyrie to enhance its remote operations capabilities, which will improve the efficiency of Woodside's offshore and remote processes and enhance personnel safety and environmental protection. These new capabilities may also find applications in NASA's missions to the Moon and various tasks on Earth.
"We are excited to embark on the next stage of development and testing of advanced robotic systems that can positively impact life on Earth by providing safer operations in hazardous environments. These tests will assess the current potential of advanced robots to expand human capabilities and assist humanity in conducting research and working safely anywhere," said Sean Azimi, the leader of the dexterous robotics team at NASA Johnson.
NASA plans to leverage the operational experience gained from Valkyrie's deployment at Woodside facilities to enhance the design of robots intended for hazardous conditions similar to those found on the Moon, during long-duration missions, and in future Artemis mission habitats.
The use of remotely operated mobile robots on the surfaces of the Moon and Mars will enable operators on Earth to perform critical tasks even in the absence of astronauts. This includes inspection and maintenance of infrastructure and facilities that utilize resources and materials for manufacturing new items, allowing astronauts to live beyond Earth's boundaries. The Woodside tests will also provide valuable data to NASA engineers regarding the use of modern robots in similar terrestrial programs.
The use of robots in the Artemis missions to the Moon can help humanity establish a long-term presence on the lunar surface and eventually on other planets like Mars.
It is worth noting that the United Nations' Technology Agency presented humanoid robots at an international conference held in Switzerland on July 6-7. Among them were well-known models equipped with caregiving skills. For instance, the social robot "Nadine" is capable of simulating emotions and memorizing information about people. These robots are already being successfully used to assist elderly residents in private homes.