A prototype rover is commanded to drive in and sample a quarry resembling a lunar site. The image shows a virtual reality impression of the test.
The rover is a key element of the ESA-led Heracles mission in cooperation with the Canadian Space Agency CSA and Japan’s JAXA space agency.
Heracles is studying the potential of human–robot partnerships for exploring the Solar System, beginning with the still-unexplored far side of the Moon. Astronauts tele-operating the rover from lunar orbit will help to select better, more pristine samples to return to Earth.
The test took place in mid-October at St Alphons de Granby quarry in Quebec, Canada. The site was chosen for its Moon-like landscape.
ESA’s control centre in Darmstadt, Germany and CSA took turns operating the vehicle.