BERLIN, August 17 (Xinhua) – The German astronaut Alexander Gerst piloted a semi-autonomous robot on Earth remotely as part of a project of the European Space Agency (ESA).
The mission was presented at a robotics facility of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) during a training session that Gerst completed on Friday.
During the test, the humanoid robot was placed in a simulated Mars environment at DLR's Robotics and Mechatronics Center in the German town of Oberpfaffenhofen, while Gerst ordered it on an ISS tablet at a height of 400 km.
During the process the robot had to connect and disconnect cables, open transport boxes and inspect components without the German astronaut dictating the required movements. The robot named Rollin & Justin is a modular autonomous robot that can independently carry out individual assignments.
Alexander Gerst had to perform complex telerobotic tasks in space, but also had to respond to unexpected situations. "The idea is to test whether robots will be able to properly assist astronauts in future space missions," said DLR representative Lioba Suchenwirth. Rollin & Justin also received a broader range of possible actions than in previous experiments.
DLR is confident that the project will be of great importance to European space traffic in the long term. "[Rollin’] Justin is a technology carrier." Individual elements of this technology will be used in space in the coming years, "said Markus Grebenstein, head of the DLR department at Xinhua on Friday
but the technology also has several applications." In May, the DLR institute for robotics and mechatronics are SMiLE project, which develops robots similar to Rollin & Justin, which support the care of the elderly or physical disabilities.
This test run was DLR & # 39; s third and final experiment of the METERON (Multi- Purpose End-to-End Robotic Operation Network) SUPVIS-Justin-Project in which robots stationed on the surface of the earth are controlled by astronauts on board the ISS, and according to Suchenwirth this was by far the most complex experiment in this series with respect to autonomy.  In 2015, the Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko first sent a robot called ROKVISS that was stationed from space on earth. by Rollin & # 39; Justin was later performed by the Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli on August 25, 2017.