ESA Astronaut Luca Parmitano will be Controlling a Rover From Space

Universe Today | 11/19/2019 | Staff
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NASA has been rather up-front about its desire to send astronauts back to the Moon and on to Mars in the coming years. They are joined by multiple space agencies (such as the ESA, Roscosmos, the CNSA and the IRSO) who also wish to conduct their first crewed missions beyond Earth. However, what is often overlooked is the role teleoperated missions will play in the near-future – where humans and robots explore hand-in-hand.

For example, the ESA has embarked upon a series of experiments collectively named Analog-1, where astronauts control robots from space. Yesterday (Nov. 18th), ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano took control of a robot in the Netherlands from the ISS. This experiment and others like it will help prepare astronauts for future missions that will involve the exploration of hazardous or inaccessible off-world environments.

Rover - Interact - Part - End - Robotics

The rover (known as Interact) was created as part of the Multi-Purpose End To End Robotics Operations Network (METERON) project, which seeks to create communication networks, robot interfaces, and hardware to enable astronauts to remotely control robot explorers from orbit. These robots will be capable of scouting out landing sites for future missions, locating resources, and preparing habitats for astronauts.

The key to this process is a specially-developed “space internet” that can connect an operator to locations up to 10,000 km (6,200 mi) away – either between orbit and the surface or in distant locations on Earth. This connection allowed Luca to remain in contact with the rover, as well as to see, and feel everything it experienced – albeit with a time delay.

Exploration - Targets - Earth - Lunar - Rover

This is crucial when it comes to teleoperation since exploration targets are so far from Earth. To remotely-operate a lunar rover, mission controllers have to contend with delays that are seconds or minutes long. From the Earth to the Moon, signals only take a few...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Universe Today
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