Just as remotely-operated vehicles help humans explore the depths of the ocean from above, NASA has begun studying how a similar approach may one day help astronauts explore other worlds.
On June 17 and July 26, NASA tested the Surface Telerobotics exploration concept, in which an astronaut in an orbiting spacecraft remotely operates a robot on a planetary surface. In the future, astronauts orbiting other planetary bodies, such as Mars, asteroids or the moon, could use this approach to perform work on the surface using robotic avatars.
“The initial test was notable for achieving a number of firsts for NASA and the field of human-robotic exploration,” said Terry Fong, Human Exploration Telerobotics project manager and director of the Intelligent Robotics Group at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., which designed and manages the tests. “Specifically, this project represents the first fully-interactive remote operation of a planetary rover by an astronaut in space.”
During the June 17 test, Expedition 36 Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy of NASA remotely operated the K10 planetary rover in the Roverscape – an outdoor robotic test area the size of two football fields located at NASA Ames – hundreds of miles below on Earth’s surface from his post aboard the International Space Station (ISS). For more than three hours, Cassidy used the robot to perform a survey of the Roverscape’s rocky, lunar-like terrain.
The July 26 test picked up where Cassidy left off. Fellow Expedition 36 Flight Engineer Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency remotely-controlled the rover and began deploying a simulated Kapton film-based radio antenna.
These tests represent the first time NASA’s open-source Robot Application Programming Interface Delegate (RAPID) robot data messaging system was used to control a robot from space. RAPID originally was developed by NASA’s Human-Robotic Systems project and is a set of software data structures and routines that simplify the process of communicating information between different robots and their command and control systems. RAPID has been used with a wide variety of systems including rovers, walking robots, free-flying robots and robotic cranes.
The test also is the first time the NASA Ensemble-based software — jointly developed at Ames and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. — was used in space for telerobotics. Ensemble is an open architecture for the development, integration and deployment of mission operations software. Fundamentally, it is an adaptation of the Eclipse Rich Client Platform (RCP), a widespread, stable and supported framework for component-based application development. Since 2004, the Ensemble project has supported the development of mission operations software for NASA’s Science and Human Exploration and Operations mission directorates.
“Whereas it is common practice in undersea exploration to use a joystick and have direct control of remote submarines, the K10 robots are more intelligent,” said Fong. “Astronauts interact with the robots at a higher level, telling them where to go, and then the robot itself independently and intelligently figures out how to safely get there.”
The primary objective of the Surface Telerobotics testing is to collect engineering data from astronauts aboard the space station, the K10 robot and data communication links. This will allow engineers to characterize the system and validate previous ground tests.
NASA will conduct a final test session with the space station in August. During this test, engineers and an astronaut will inspect the deployed antenna and study human-robot interaction.
“During future missions beyond low-Earth orbit, some work will not be feasible for humans to do manually,” said Fong. “Robots will complement human explorers, allowing astronauts to perform work via remote control from a space station, spacecraft or other habitat.”
The primary goal of the Human Exploration Telerobotics project is to understand how human and robot activities, such as Surface Telerobotics, can be coordinated to improve crew safety, enhance science activities and increase mission success while also reducing cost, risk and consumables, such as fuel and oxygen, during future exploration missions.
The K10 robot is a four-wheel drive, four-wheel steer robot that stands about 4.5 feet tall, weighs about 220 pounds and can travel about three feet per second (a little slower than the average person’s walking pace). For the Surface Telerobotics tests, K10 is equipped with multiple cameras and a 3-D scanning laser system to perform survey work, as well as a mechanism to deploy the simulated radio antenna.
This year’s Surface Telerobotics tests simulate a possible future mission involving astronauts aboard NASA’s Orion spacecraft traveling to the L2 Earth-moon Lagrange point. The L2 point is where the combined gravity of the Earth and moon allows a spacecraft to easily maintain a stationary orbit and is located 40,000 miles above the far side of the moon. From L2, astronauts would remotely operate a robot to perform surface science work, such as deploying a radio telescope. This mission concept was developed by the Lunar University Network for Astrophysics Research (LUNAR), which is based at the University of Colorado, Boulder (CU).
“Deploying a radio telescope on the farside of the moon would allow us to make observations of the early universe free from the radio noise of Earth,” said Jack Burns, a professor at CU, director of LUNAR and co-investigator at NASA’s Lunar Science Institute. “The Surface Telerobotics test represents a next step in new modes of exploration that will bring together humans and robots, as well as science and exploration. Such telerobotics technology will be needed for exploration of the moon, asteroids and eventually the surface of Mars.”
The Latest Bing News on:
Remotely Control Planetary Rover From Space
- NASA's rover captures a new 'exciting' Mars sampleon August 3, 2022 at 12:12 am
NASA's newest rover that has been exploring the surface of the Red Planet and has captured a new sample from a martian rock.
- NASA's Curiosity Rover Landed on Mars 10 Years Ago. It Changed My Lifeon July 31, 2022 at 5:00 am
A decade ago it was a sky crane, a be-mohawked NASA engineer named Bobak and a $2.5 billion rover called Curiosity that took my career in a new direction. Mainly, it was the high-resolution photos ...
- Mars rover work-out controlled in Chile from more 11.000km away in UKon July 29, 2022 at 12:21 pm
The European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications (ECSAT) at Harwell hosts the new Remote Control ... Planet as well as relaying data from NASA’s InSight lander and Curiosity rover.
- New Mars sample return game plan gives NASA’s rover a promotion, adds 2 helicopters as backupon July 28, 2022 at 12:40 pm
To bring the first samples from Mars back to Earth, NASA and the European Space Agency have an elaborate plan involving a fleet of robots, including the Perseverance rover, a new Martian lander, a ...
- Rover out, helicopters in as NASA adjusts Mars Sample Return missionon July 27, 2022 at 10:33 am
With the success of the Ingenuity helicopter that became the first aircraft to achieve controlled flight on another planet, NASA and the European Space Agency are shifting plans by sending a couple ...
- NASA's rover finds spaghetti-like bundle of string on Marson July 22, 2022 at 6:12 am
The Mars rover has encountered a fair share of space trash since its arrival. The stringy object is likely to be left over materials from Perseverance's landing.
- China's Tianwen-1 has imaged the entire surface of Mars, completing its primary missionon July 12, 2022 at 7:04 am
After exploring Mars for more than a year, China's Tianwen-1 space probe has successfully taken images covering the entire Red Planet ... lander, remote camera, and Zhurong rover.
- Watch: ESA tests rovers on Mount Etna to prepare them for a mission to the Moonon July 11, 2022 at 5:01 pm
Raging winds, dusty harsh terrains - this isn't an alien planet ... space grade, to indeed be part of the next moon mission". It's not the first time ESA has simulated this kind of remote rover ...
- Rover Gathers Rocks From Active Volcano During Simulated Moon Missionon July 6, 2022 at 1:08 pm
The four-day simulation is part of the European Space ... As the rover picked up the rocks from the volcano, Reiter could feel what the rover’s gripper felt from the remote control—an added ...
- The best ever space robots of the past, present and futureon July 5, 2022 at 5:00 pm
From the USSR’s first lunar rover of the 1970s to ... aboard the International Space Station. They help by functioning autonomously or by remote control and completing tasks such as inventory ...
The Latest Google Headlines on:
Remotely Control Planetary Rover From Space
The Latest Bing News on:
- Teleoperation and Telerobotics Market Value To Increase Substantially By 2022-2028on July 29, 2022 at 5:36 am
The Teleoperation and Telerobotics market synopsis is a comprehensive list of the variables that determine business growth as per competitive rivalry and the geographical scene between 2022 and 2025.
- Teleoperation and Telerobotics Market Report 2022: Cloud Robotics Expanding Usage of Machines and Boosting Sector Growthon July 22, 2022 at 4:41 am
Teleoperation and telerobotics are both supported by ICT infrastructure including broadband communications, sensors, machine to machine (M2M) communications, and various Internet of Things (IoT ...
- Teleoperation and Telerobotics Market Report 2022: Cloud Robotics Expanding Usage of Machines and Boosting Sector Growthon July 22, 2022 at 4:38 am
The "Teleoperation and Telerobotics Market by Technologies, Solutions, and Applications for Enterprise and Industrial Automation 2022 - 2027" report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com's offering ...
- Teleoperation and Telerobotics Market Report 2022: Development and Penetration of 5G Technology Offers High Potential Opportunitieson July 21, 2022 at 8:55 am
This report evaluates the emerging role of teleoperation and telerobotics in the era of Industry 4.0. The report analyzes the impact of teleoperation and telerobotics solutions in ...
- Teleoperation and Telerobotics Market Report 2022: Development and Penetration of 5G Technology Offers High Potential Opportunitieson July 21, 2022 at 7:37 am
DUBLIN, July 21, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The "Teleoperation and Telerobotics Market by Technologies, Solutions, and Applications for Enterprise and Industrial Automation 2022 - 2027" report has been ...
- Teleoperation and Telerobotics Market Report 2022: Featuring Key Players IBM, General Electric, Google & Others - ResearchAndMarkets.comon July 20, 2022 at 4:54 am
This report evaluates the emerging role of teleoperation and telerobotics in the era of Industry 4.0. The report analyzes the impact of teleoperation and telerobotics solutions in different industry ...
- The Future of Teleroboticson March 17, 2015 at 6:32 am
visiting the Telerobotics and Haptics Laboratory. Andreas catches up with Andre Schiele, head of the laboratory, to learn more about the robotics activities he will be participating in during his ...