The British astronaut, Tim Peake, who is currently on board of the International Space Station (ISS), will operate on Friday a robotic device located on Earth. The main objective of the trial is to understand better the man-robot interaction for an upcoming mission to the red planet.
Tim Peake is a British astronaut that’s part of the European Space Agency (ESA) and is a crew member of the ISS. Peake is also the first astronaut to run the London Marathon from space, using a treadmill on the ISS.
Peake is collaborating with ESA’s Metreon mission ( Multipurpose End-To-end Robotics Operations Network) that plans future human-robotic work on Mars and the Moon.
Deeper explorations on space
The European Space Agency seeks with its Metreon mission to “test operations, communications, and robotics control strategies. Operational considerations such as which tasks are robotic and which human, and data are needed to support the monitoring and control of assets, will feed directly plans for future explorations” As stated by the ESA on its newsroom.
The Metreon project is led by ESA in an alliance with NASA, the German Aerospace Center and the Russian space agency, the mission is still on its experiments phase to test the technologies and adapting them to function better.
The European Space Agency hopes to send the robot rover to the red planet in 2018 although recent rumors are suggesting the year will be 2020, according to the BBC news.
The trial part of the project seeks to understand what parts of investigating other planets will need human assistance and which tasks can be delivered to robotics. With a better understanding on the matter more data can be collected and worked with.
Peake will be driving remotely a space rover that has been nicknamed Bridget, as part of the 365 experiments he has on his “To-do list” in outer space.
The device he will be driving will be physically located 400 km away in a created sandpit on Stevenage, England. ESA workers designed a surface that simulates Mars environment to obtain a better feedback on the trial.
This trial will also help to understand the gap between the connections the ISS has on Earth and in future cases with Mars. Since his control link has to be transmitted back to Earth and pass through different communication spots before arriving at the robot’s receptor.
“It will help to investigate how humans interact with robotic systems and vehicles, stimulating the losses in connections, delays in responding to commands and other disruptions that are expected in future when an astronaut in orbit operates a rover on Mars,” says ESA on its newsroom
Peake will roll around the device for 90 minutes on Friday 29 starting at 2 p.m. local time, the experiment will transmit real-time at the Airbus DS website and in the Principia website, ESA will be updating the experiment on its Twitter account @esaoperations.