Edinburgh University is helping to send a robot to Mars

Take that Matt Damon

From the same research centre that brought us Dolly the Sheep, Edinburgh University is embarking on another feat of scientific development.

The University is collaborating with NASA to help develop a humanoid robot – named Valkyrie – in preparation for future Mars missions. While the University hasn’t actually constructed the robot, which stands at 1.8m tall and can already walk and perform basic movements, NASA has delivered it to Edinburgh, which it intends to be one of the three universities chosen to teach the robot important skills.

The project will be led by Professor Vijayakumar, Chair of Robotics in the School of Informatics, who’s intent is for his team to help improve Valkyrie’s walking and handling capabilities, which will help with motion planning and perception for future mars missions.

The development of the robot is a great opportunity for current postgraduates and all involved at the Centre of Robotics, and the expensive project is currently receiving a lot of funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council as Valkyrie is one of only three prototypes NASA has ever handed over to researchers for further developments.