One big step for man, one giant leap for telepresence

Image of a robot on the moon.

The buzziest news in telepresence this week was an announcement by Carnegie Mellon to develop a telepresence application using the Oculus rift to visit the moon on a virtual mission.  The Astrobotics team lead by Daniel Safrir, plan on landing a rover on the moon and sending video back.  They’ve already landed a deal with SpaceX to launch the robot and other payloads in 2015.  

The goal is to have "hundreds of the robots on the Moon", said Mr Shafrir.  As I wrote in Exploring the Great Beyond, you can stop on by NASA’s SSERVI (Solar System Exploration and Research Virtual Institute) to plot out your mission prior to taking control of a robot.  You’ll find some hi-def images of the moon there to plot your mission.  They’ll have some serious obstacles to overcome, the least of which is the roughly three second latency experienced between sending signals to and from the moon.  

Telepresence isn’t the only game in town for Astrobotics.  They’ve also offered to provide transportation for a NASCAR like event on the moon, allowing several Google X-Prize competitors a race to the finish line over a 500 meter course.  Contestants from the Sample return challenge, you’ve been notified.  



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