Chichester astronaut Tim Peake to control UK-based rover from space

Tim Peake at the rover-control workstation in ESA's Columbus science module on board the ISS. Credit: ESA/NASA

Tim Peake at the rover-control workstation in ESA's Columbus science module on board the ISS. Credit: ESA/NASA

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Chichester astronaut Tim Peake will remotely navigate the European Space Agency rover as he orbits the Earth through space this afternoon.

Peak will take control of the robot – named Bridget – through a simulated Martian landscape at Airbus Defence and Space in Stevenage, Hertfordshire.

The Mars Yard is 30m by 13m and will be split in two with a partition acting as the entrance to a cave. The cave will have very low light.

One rover will navigate autonomously across the well-lit part of the yard before stopping at the cave. At this point, Tim Peake will take control of Bridget.

His task is to get Bridget into the cave and find three targets marked with UV paint before exiting - all within 90 minutes.

Bridget must frame each target up for a picture, mark a map and notify ground control.

The goal is to develop the technology needed for astronauts to navigate rovers while orbiting Mars and to see how humans and robots can work together.

The experiment can be followed live from 2.30pm at airbusdefenceandspace.com/astronaut-tim-peake-drives-mars-rover-bridget-from-space
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