Turnabout! Space Station Astronaut Drives Robot on Earth via 'Interplanetary Internet'
ASA and the European Space Agency have tested out a prototype system that may one day help enable Internet-like communications between Earth and robots on another planet.
Astronaut Sunita Williams, commander of the International Space Station's current Expedition 33 mission, used NASA's experimental Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN) protocol to drive a small LEGO robot at the European Space Operations Center in Germany late last month.
The European-led experiment simulated a scenario in which an astronaut orbiting another world controls a robotic rover on the planet's surface, NASA officials said.
"The demonstration showed the feasibility of using a new communications infrastructure to send commands to a surface robot from an orbiting spacecraft and receive images and data back from the robot," Badri Younes, deputy associate administrator for space communications and navigation at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said in a statement.