Posted: May 23, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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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. Telerobotics would be orders of magnitude more productive for exploration than semi-autonomous robots like the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity, says NASA’s George Schmidt, an organiser of the Exploration Telerobotics Symposium earlier this month at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “Nothing beats having human cognition and dexterity in the field,” he says. (via Telerobotics offers third way for space exploration – space – 21 May 2012 – New Scientist)

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