JAXA trials very remote control machinery

Japan’s space agency and a major construction firm say they have come up with a way to operate machinery from far away. Their ultimate aim is to build a base on the moon.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, and construction company Kajima say they managed to maneuver a steamroller from 1,000 kilometers away. The machinery was on the southwestern island of Tanegashima and the operators were in a JAXA facility near Tokyo during an experiment in March.

They had to anticipate where the steamroller would be several seconds later because images would take time to arrive from the moon.

They also tried it on autonomous mode, where it followed a pre-set route.

JAXA and Kajima have been working on the system since 2016. They now want to try it at a longer distance, with the machine and its operator in different countries.