The Multipurpose End-To-end Robotics Operations Network (Meteron) is a European project to prepare for human-robotic missions to the Moon, Mars and other celestial bodies. The project is led by ESA in partnership with NASA, DLR-the German Aerospace Center and the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and is organised around a series of experiments, testing technologies and adapting traditional ways of working.
Meteron is implementing an infrastructure to test operations, communications and robotic control strategies. Operational considerations such as which tasks are robotic and which human, and what data are needed to support the monitoring and control of assets, will feed directly into plans for future exploration initiatives and the design of mission systems. A variety of ground based and flight based tests have been performed with different rovers, communication paths and operations concepts.
Tim Peake’s rover-control experiment on 29 April is dubbed SUPVIS-M for ‘Supervisory Control of Mars Yard Rover’. Building on previous test and experiment campaigns, ESA, the UK Space Agency and Airbus Defence and Space UK are working together to investigate distributed control of robots in a simulated planetary environment. SUPVIS-M follows the SUPVIS-E (Supervisory Control of Eurobot Rover) experiment, in which Tim Peake controlled the Eurobot rover at ESA’s ESTEC establishment in The Netherlands in March 2016.