An astronaut on the International Station has remotely guided a
robot on Earth using touch – a major advance that could help build new
worlds on other planets.
Dane Andreas Mogensen took control of
the Interact Centaur rover while in orbit 250miles above the Earth,
using it to place a peg in a narrow hole.

Dane Andreas Mogensen took control of the
Interact Centaur rover while in orbit 250miles above the Earth, using it
to place a peg in a narrow hole. Photo / Getty Images 

He was able to
manoeuvre the £145,000 fibre glass robot in real time, thanks to fast
signals bouncing off a complex system of satellites. A camera on the
front of the machine allowed Mr Mogensen to see what he was doing, while
physical feedback was provided through a joystick.
Andre
Schiele, head of the European Space Agency’s telerobotics laboratory,
said the technology would allow people to carry out ‘human-like tasks’
on the surface of another planet.
He said this would be vital for
the construction of a colony on Mars, for example, but added the
technology could also be used on Earth ‘everywhere you don’t want to
send humans’ – such as dealing with meltdowns at nuclear reactors.
The 18-month project was a collaboration between the ESA and the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.