The European Space Agency will launch a super-sensitive joystick, which agency officials described as "touchy-feely" in a project overview, to the space station to help engineers learn better ways to telerobotically operate a robot on a planet's surface. The astronauts will use the joystick and fill out questionnaires on its performance as part of a study on human motor control in long-term weightlessness.
"Future planetary exploration may well see robots on an alien surface being teleoperated by humans in orbit above them — close enough for real-time remote control, without any significant signal lag, to benefit from human resourcefulness without the expense and danger of a manned landing," ESA officials explained in a written.
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