Robots and lasers in space: Photos of tech headed to the cosmos

The European Space Agency researches technologies that will allow humans to learn more about space and eventually explore new worlds.

That research relies on cutting-edge advances in fields such as robotics, laser-based communications and 3D printing. Here's what the agency and its partners have been cooking up in their labs.


This car-sized rover is Eurobot, which will be remote controlled by ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen during his 10-day flight to the International Space Station in September.

From 400km above the rover, Mogensen will issue commands to move the rover and simulate tasks on other planets, such as moving boxes and unfurling solar arrays. He will also control a second rover, which will beam video to the station so Andreas can monitor Eurobot.

In the future astronauts could use similar technology to control robots on planets from orbit, setting up bases or performing scientific research.

Image: ESA-L. Wellard

By Nick Heath

Nick Heath is a computer science student and was formerly a journalist at TechRepublic and ZDNet.