The Future Is Now: Astronaut In Space Guides Earthbound Robot

September 10, 2015


When it comes to technology and science, it has never been so exciting to live on Earth as it is to live now. We are all witnesses to things that we thought could never be done, and we can say that we’re truly living in the future. An astronaut aboard a space station guided an earthbound robot (roughly about 248 miles away from him) through a task.

The European Space Agency managed to figure out a way how an Intact Centaur rover can insert a peg under the guidance of an astronaut, zipping around the planet at 5 miles per second, 248 miles away from it.

Andreas Mogens, the mentioned astronaut, used asset of controls to operate the Interact Centaur rover at an ESA center in Netherlands.

The groundbreaking part of it is that the controls used force feedback, meaning that when the robot’s “arm” hit resistance, Mogens sensed it through his controls.

The signal between the International Space Station and the ESA beamed from the ISS to orbiting satellites, then through NASA Houston to a ground station in New Mexico, and then through a cable under the Atlantic to the ESA center. This means that the signal traveled more than 84,477 miles!

On his first attempt, Mogens managed to steer the robot to an electronic board and insert the peg in 45 minutes, while on his second try he managed to complete the task in only 10 minutes.

Andre Schiele, of the ESA’s Telerobotics and Haptics Laboratory, released a statement which read: “Andreas managed two complete drive, approach, park and peg-in-hole insertions, demonstrating precision force-feedback from orbit for the very first time in the history of spaceflight.”