Every few weeks, a telepresence robot rolls by my desk. It’s usually a co-worker in a distant office on her way to a meeting, or checking in on the progress of physical things in the office from the comfort of her home.
At first, it was surprising to hear the whir of a robot and see a smiling face roll by. But now, it’s normal. Over the past 40 years, telepresence technologies have gone from being complicated, huge, or non-existent to being so ubiquitous and powerful that they’re used everywhere from operating rooms to your phone.
So, why not send them to space?
That’s the argument put forward in an article in Science Robotics. As people discuss the best ways to explore other planets, some wonder if it’s even necessary to send people to the ground.