Astronaut controls California robot from space
July 31, 2013
An Italian astronaut drove a robot around a California parking lot Friday. He did so from space. [Wired]
As part of a series of tests at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, astronaut Luca Parmitano controlled a K-10 rover from his perch at the International Space Station.
Parmitano, who was flying 400 kilometers above the robot, viewed its movements in real time and typed instructions into his space station laptop to direct the rover from one point to another in the Ames parking lot.
Telerobotics, the technology tested Friday, may allow astronauts in orbit to guide robots in real time on the surface on another planet.
Using telerobotics, astronauts could increase the speed at which rovers explore other planets. NASA astronauts currently must send a complex set of instructions to robots each morning, then wait for the rovers to execute them.
“This is a glimpse of the future of space exploration,” University of Colorado astronomer Jack Burns said during the test.