Telerobotics offers third way for space exploration
SPACE exploration may have a new direction. In the 1960s, humans did the exploring but since the last moon landing in 1972, NASA's only explorers beyond low Earth orbit have been semi-autonomous robots. Now the agency is pondering a third approach, sending astronauts who would remain in orbit around alien worlds and explore via robotic rovers.
On Earth, human-controlled robots are used for tasks ranging from delicate surgery to exploration of the deep sea. But in space, robotic "telepresence" could be even more promising.
Forever awaiting instructions (Image: Detlev van Ravenswaay/Science Photo Library)
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