Japan plans remote-controlled robotic space tourism to the ISS and beyond • The Register

International Space Station Obtains Publicly Controllable Mobile Robot “Space Avatars” From Earth, Thanks To Joint Project Between Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) And ANA Holdings’ Avatarin Telepresence Start-Up .

The project will create a virtual remote space tourism experience for those who cannot afford to hitchhike with Jeff Bezos or Richard Branson.

The JAXA press release reads as follows:

This is not the first collaboration between JAXA and avatarin. The duo collaborated last year, resulting in a virtual experience technology demonstration allowing robots to board the ISS’s KIBO module.

The new project builds on this technological demonstration increasing the role of robots on board the ISS with a new type of avatar that will act as a colleague for the astronauts on the station and on other parameters like the moon. Avatars working in this capacity will have high precision hands. Other avatars will be all about an entertainment experience.

In addition to the two new types of avatars, the project will use an existing type of avatar robot called a ‘newme’ as education and public relations tools, offering virtual tours and generating interest in space exploration from Earth. .

avatarin will provide the avatars and telepresence technology; JAXA will bring its space experience, knowledge and facilities; and a third, the University of Tokyo School of Engineering, will participate in developing a self-position estimation system.

Neither party says when the avatars will be available for a teletourism spot, but their aspirations are already beyond the ISS experiences and target “possible robotic technologies that can be effectively deployed in future space exploration missions.”

And since JAXA has landed on asteroids twice, we might have a hell of a ride. ®

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