January 24, 2020 - 19:05 AMT
India planning to send a legless, "female" robot into space

India has unveiled a "female" humanoid robot that it plans to launch into space in 2020, Business Insider reports.

The country's space agency – the Indian Space Research Organisation – showcased a prototype of 'Vyommitra,' a humanoid robot it describes as "a woman."

Vyommitra will reportedly speak two languages and will fly on an unspecified unmanned mission this year.

Though the robot appears to be dexterous, it doesn't seem to have any legs, raising the question of why it needs a physical form at all.

Vyommitra's development forms but a small part of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi's ambitious, ongoing plans to establish India as a space industry player.

Not all of India's attempts to conquer space have gone smoothly.

The ISRO failed in an attempt to place a lunar lander on the moon earlier in January, with the ground crew losing touch of the lander. The mission cost an estimated $145 million – nearly one-tenth of the agency's meager reported annual budget of $1.8 billion.