05:34 GMT28 February 2020
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    A robot developed in Scotland could be ready to set foot on Mars by 2021. Valkyrie, the humanoid is 1.8 meters tall, weighs 125 kilograms, walks on two legs and has arms that can grasp objects - perfect for subservient life on the Red Planet.

    Scientists from the Edinburgh Center for Robotics along with engineers from US space agency NASA hope to send Valkyrie to Mars as a servant for astronauts before the first human explorers reach the Red Planet in around 15 years' time.

    "At the moment the robot is a pretty basic shell which can walk up a set of three small steps and can reach out and grip something and pass it on to someone. It reacts if you push against it, either swaying or stepping back," Professor Sethu Vijayakumar, director of the Edinburgh Center for Robotics said.

    "We want systems that work in environments built for humans."

    The robot has stereoscopic camera eyes and cameras on its belly.

    However, Professor Vijayakumar admits that the biggest challenge is getting Valkyrie to interact with people.

    "You have to have some pretty adaptable algorithms. The dream is to have something that can be a co-worker for astronauts on space missions, for example," Professor Vijayakumar said.

    Valkyrie is pretty unique too; the humanoid is one of just three prototypes that have been developed in the world and the only human-sized robot in Europe. Its next step is become the first robot to successfully serve astronauts on Mars and eventually support the first human colony on the Red Planet

    "Valkyrie is a huge scientific undertaking," said Professor Vijayakumar.

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    Tags:
    journey to Mars, robot, mission, astronaut, assistance, aid, technology, space exploration, University of Edinburgh, NASA, Mars, United Kingdom, Scotland
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