Robot astronauts sent to Boston by NASA

Robot astronauts sent to Boston by NASA

The two-year project is expected to create robot "astronauts" for future space missions.

Two robots, designed to eventually assist or replace humans on future space missions, are being sent to two Boston universities by NASA.

The Washington Post reports that Northern University and MIT will each receive a prototype robot, and will be tasked with the mission to develop the algorithms necessary to make the robots functional. NASA picked the two schools based on their performance in the DARPA Robotics Challenge.

One of the two prototypes, called R5, did not make the cut in last year’s DARPA Robotics Challenge. The robot, also known as Valkyrie, has a very science-fiction based design. However, R5 was rushed in its programming, as the team spent more time on the mechanical properties of the prototype, rather than on the algorithms necessary for it to function.

The two schools chosen were ranked sixth and seventh in the DARPA Challenge. The team at Northern University will be lead by Taskin Padir. Padir was previously a professor at Worcester Polytechnical Institute, and served as the co-leader of the school’s DARPA team.

The schools will receive $250,000 in funding each, over the course of two years. The robots will eventually compete against one another, in a competition that will focus on space travel related tasks, rather than the tasks measured during the DARPA Robotics Challenge.

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