Google’s Lunar Xprize is still alive and well, and researchers at Carnegie Mellon University think they have the $30 million answer to beaming video from the moon: a telepresence robot. Naturally. Instead of simply broadcasting footage of the moon’s surface, however, the scientists want to, as they say, “bring the Moon back” according to the BBC. How? By mating the spacefaring robot with Oculus Rift headsets here on Earth; turn your head on the Third Rock From the Sun and the robot on the moon will supposedly turn in tandem via head-tracking. There are a few caveats that had to be overcome, however. Namely, the Rift needs a pair of simultaneous video feeds to properly achieve a convincing virtual reality experience, and, by design it can’t accept two streams.
The team says that it overcame this and a few other hurdles (hopefully lag is one of them) with a nonstop hackathon. The team’s goals are lofty, but we can’t help but admire them nonetheless. Ultimately CMU wants hundreds of its robots on the moon and a Rift headset in every room — allowing practically anyone to see what Apollo 11’s crew saw 45 years ago.
[Image credit: Getty Images]