An astronaut on the ISS controlled a robot located on Earth
In January, an experiment took place on the International Space Station in which astronaut Markus Wandt remotely controlled the robot Burt, who was in a laboratory on Earth. In the future, four-legged robots are planned to be used to explore hard-to-reach areas of the Moon, Mars and other planets that will be visited by humanity.
“Until now, astronauts have controlled only wheeled robots remotely from space,” write representatives of the German Aerospace Center (DLR). “In this experiment, however, Bert learned several types of gait, and in the future, using his paws to move will allow him to explore rough terrain, including small caves that his wheeled companions cannot reach.”
Wandt “allowed his four-legged friend to independently explore the surroundings of the laboratory, observing the area through a camera.” Bert’s task was to replace the receiver of one of the scientific instruments. He was assisted in the performance by the wheeled robot Rolin Justin.
The experimental robots are based at the German Aerospace Center in Oberpfaffenhofen, west of Munich, and are operated as part of the Surface Avatar project, which is jointly managed by DLR and the European Space Agency. The robot command terminal on the ISS is located in the Columbus module of the International Space Station. In addition to the laptop, the robots can be controlled via a joystick and an interaction device that makes the robots copy the astronaut’s hand movements.