Rover plus astronaut complete Mount Etna challenge

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In a complex role-played version of a mission to the Moon, controllers at ESOC combined with a team of geological scientists and ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter to oversee a rover’s collection of rock samples. Acting as if he were in lunar orbit, the astronaut was in fact based in a hotel room in Catania, Sicily, with the rover 23 km away and 2 600 m uphill on the volcanic flanks of Mount Etna. As Thomas commanded the rover to pick up rocks his hand experienced just what the robot’s gripper felt – an added dimension in remote control.

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