TECH
01/07/2013 12:11 BST

Nasa Rover On Earth Controlled By Astronaut In Space For First Time

In a complete reversal of the usual Nasa 'robotics in space' achievements, an astronaut in orbit drove a rover on Earth.

The test was the first of its kind and was designed to test the skills and technology needed to control vehicles on the moon or Mars remotely.

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, an engineer aboard the International Space Station (ISS), took control of a K10 Rover at the Ames research centre in California.

rover

The K10 rover

Cassidy could monitor the rover using a real-time video feed as simulated a mission to deploy a polyimide-film antenna.

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The rover with the antenna trailing from the back

A purpose built landscape had been created to mimic conditions on Earth although distinctly terrestrial winds caused a few problems.

The test went well and paves the way for a planned mission to deploy a rover on the far side of the moon.

"It was a great success … and the team was thrilled with how smoothly everything went," said Jack Burns, director of the NASA Lunar Science Institute's Lunar University Network for Astrophysics Research.