Remember Atlas, the amazing and slightly spine-chilling android that Boston Dynamics has entered into DARPA’s Robotics Challenge as a kind of future super-soldier? He’s got competition. Bigger competition, from a much friendlier source: NASA. Meet “R5” Valkyrie, the 6-foot-2 inch-tall humanoid robot that could one day drag you from a burning building and may even take the first stroll on Martian soil.
Building on some of the same ideas as Robonaut, NASA’s experimental android currently being tested on the International Space Station, Valkyrie is designed to work within Earth’s gravity levels. He’s specifically crafted to be able to walk confidently across difficult terrain, which makes him perfect for post-disaster scenarios.
Valkyrie is covered in soft materials so it will feel more comforting to humans who touch it. It is also dotted with cameras that could help human operators study surrounding environments and spot survivors in post-disaster scenes. And while Atlas is currently powered via a cable tether, Valkyrie is already running under backpack electrical power.
Oh, and the first footprint on Mars may come from a Valkyrie footpad, as he paves the way for human explorers.