On Friday an astronaut on ISS controlled and steered a rover on Earth.


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On Friday an astronaut on ISS controlled and steered a rover on Earth.

While zipping around Earth several hundred miles above the planet’s surface, European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano drove a 220-pound (100 kilograms) rover across a moon-mimicking landscape here at NASA’s Ames Research Center, even ordering the robot to deploy a simulated film-based radio telescope antenna.

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4 comments

  • Pzatchok

    I thought we already did this from planet to planet. You know, the mars rovers.

    Why is NASA wasting time and money trying to prove something they already know works?

  • This experiment was not quite the same as controlling a rover on Mars from JPL on Earth. Having an astronaut do it on ISS means the infrastructure the astronaut uses has to be much simpler than that on Earth, much more portable and lightweight so it can get to ISS. To achieve that is important engineering that must be learned.

    Thus, I wouldn’t dismiss this test as a waste.

  • Pzatchok

    So they built a full size rover and moon simulation test range just to test a new digital transceiver?

    They didn’t need the moon simulation area or the actual remote control car. They could have tested the radio by just monitoring its digital input/output.

    Everything else was off the shelf stuff used everyday all day.

    I can see testing the radio. But going through the extra expense of making full size operational mock-ups and running it around on a full size simulated moon is a bit over the top.
    Unless they already had the robot and moon mock-up sitting around unused then I retract my opinion.

    But so far all I see is a few engineers putting together a big test just to make their work look more important than it really is.

  • Robert Clark

    Purpose of this is to show astronauts in orbit above the Moon could control robots producing propellant on the Moon. But to transport that propellant up to orbit you would need landers/ascent vehicles. Then why not make those landers also able to carry a crew module?

    Bob Clark

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