Lately, a challenge has been opened to any team by NASA to program a virtual Robonaut 5 robot for Mars, that is capable of completing a series of complex tasks within a virtual Mars habitat effectively.
The registration for this recent competition known as the ‘Space Robotics Challenge’ has been opened by NASA, in a recent collaboration with Space Center Houston, the Official Visitor Center of NASA Johnson Space Center, and NineSigma. The reason for planning this event is to assist in developing a functional humanoid robot that can help astronauts on the journey to Mars. But, future applications of the robot could see it be used to complete dangerous activities back on Earth as well.
The program manager of NASA’s Centennial Challenges, Monsi Roman stated:
“Precise and dexterous robotics, able to work with a communications delay, could be used in spaceflight and ground missions to Mars and elsewhere for hazardous and complicated tasks, which will be crucial to support our astronauts. NASA and our partners are confident the public will rise to this challenge, and are excited to see what innovative technologies will be produced.”
A dust storm that damages a Martian habitat will be featured in the virtual competition and the robots will be tasked to achieve objectives: realign a communication disk, repair a solar array, and fix a leak on the habitat housing.
On August 16th, the registration in order to join the competition started and it will remain open until late September where qualifying rounds will be held to determine the finalists. The finalists will be announced this coming December and it has been decided to hold the final competition in June 2017.
The idea of the program is not only to be applicable to one set of robots, ideally, the code will be transferrable to be used within older robotic models including the Robonaut 2, as well as any future robots developed.
This challenge will gather the brightest minds of the world to collaborate and create the next generation of robots, ones destined for Mars and beyond. It can be said unquestionably that the innovative solutions will turn out to be vital for the success of all future space exploration missions, as well as some here on Earth. In this way, NASA will unite the world now to play their role in helping them on the Journey to Mars.
You can visit the NASA’s website in order to get more details about the Space Robotics Challenge.