Hello Frédéric, it is true that one can send commands remotely to spacecrafts/rovers. The problem though lies in the vast distances. Because light travels at a finite speed, there is a time lag between sending and receiving something. Even for nearby objects like Mars, this time lag is in the order of minutes so one can’t control a robot in real-time which is critical for some remote operations.

I have a feeling I wasn’t clear in the post that I meant remote-control of machines in near-real time. Sorry!

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Science writer passionate about space exploration and the Moon. Words at The Planetary Society, The Wire Science and more. All articles at www.jatan.space

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