Compensating for Space Lag
Remember back in the 28k modem days, when playing games with 300ms ping was normal and you had to compensate for latency by planning your moves slightly in advance? NASA JPL has to do something similar when piloting off-planet probes like the Curiosity rover, but control lag for a robot on Mars is 40 minutes round trip. And since commands are only sent to Mars once a day, it's actually more like a 24-hour delay. The Ops Lab at NASA JPL is attempting to compensate for that lag by developing a control interface that allows robot operators to visualize and manage the uncertainties of time-delay controls. Using a 3D map, the interface simulates where the rover will be by the time it receives its next command, factoring in as much data as is available about the surrounding environment. Operators would then be able to rewrite directions to take into account the predictive path. It's not quite as simple as aiming ahead on a laggy Counter-Strike 1.6 server, but what's at stake here is a multi-billion dollar machine. There are no respawns in space.