Valkyrie the female super robot
The gender of Valkyrie has been called into question, some believing that she is female, due to her large chest capacity, which is used for battery storage Spectrum

Valkyrie, a 6ft robot, is one of the world's most advanced robots and could rescue earthquake victims or lead space missions to Mars.

Developed by Nasa with a budget of £2.4m, the robot has the potential to work in places too dangerous for humans.

The Valkyrie is a humanoid machine with detachable arms, mounted cameras, sonar sensors. 'She' is agile and dexterous enough to help in emergency search-and-rescue operations in disaster zones.

The robot can also tilt and swivel its head, rotate its waist, and has knees and legs that can bend.

Although NASA claims Valkyrie is gender-neutral, its features make it a "she", Spectrum reported, pointing to its female shape and its name, which refers to goddess-like figures in Norse mythology.

Valkyrie the female super robot
Valkyrie the female super robot, could save earthquake victims or take part in missions to Mars. Spectrum

According to legend, Valkyries were spirits who decide destinies of men, who could protect men in battle with their spells or even women who armed themselves and fought like men.

The bustline of Valkyrie has raised some eyebrows but engineers claim that the battery-operated humanoid needs a big chest for her batteries.

Valkyrie is competing with 16 other humanoid machines in a competition run by the US Department of Defence's Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa).

Other competitors for the $2m prize include RoboSimian (an ape-like disaster-recovery robot), and Thor, a 5ft 10in Tactical Hazardous Operations Robot.

The competition started after the Fukushima nuclear power disaster in Japan, which leaked radioactivity.

Dr Gill Pratt, manager of the Robots Challenge Trials said: "During the first 24 hours [at Fukushima], if only human beings had been able to go into the reactor buildings... the explosions might have been prevented and the disaster would not have been so severe."

Robots could also be sent on Star Trek-like journeys. Niklaus Radford, project leader at the Dexterous Robotics Laboratory at Nasa's Johnson Space Centre in Texas, said in a Times report: "Nasa will send robots ahead of astronauts. These... will start preparing the way for human explorers and, when the humans arrive, they'll work together."

Take a look at Valkyrie the super robot which is giving the boys a run for their money