NASA's Valkyrie robot readied for DARPA Robotic Challenge

Photo: CNN

(CNN) - It looks like something straight out of a science fiction movie - Ironman, perhaps. But NASA's new super robot, dubbed Valkyrie, is no Hollywood special effect.

Valkyrie has got it all - cutting edge arms that detach, mounted cameras from head to toe and sonar sensors are all mounted on the human-figured robot. It even has a glowing circle in its chest that would make Tony Stark smile.

It took NASA nine months from design to build to produce the humanoid machine. It's capable enough, the agency says, to enter disaster zones and provide help to search and rescue teams.

NASA, though, has more intergalactic intentions for the robot. Mars, specifically.

"Likely, NASA will send robots ahead of astronauts to the planet," Gill Pratt, the Project Manager for the DARPA Robotic Challenge, said. "These robots will help prepare the way for the human explorers. When the humans arrive, the robots and humans will work together."

But before Valkyrie heads off to Mars, it has another mission. It'll compete in December's DARPA Robotic Challenge, which is sponsored by the Department of Defense.

Seventeen teams from around the world will be competing in the challenge trials, where teams will attempt to guide their robots through physical tasks that include testing mobility, dexterity and perception.

Pratt says that the Valkyrie, which is housed at NASA's Johnson Space Flight Center in Houston, is an "extraordinary machine."

"Of all the robots that we have there, it's the one with the most degrees of freedom," Pratt said. "It's the one with the most degrees of freedom; the most joints that can move around. It's really quite sophisticated and I have very high hopes for it."