Robotics is an engineering discipline that has much to offer astronomy. Although its application to planetary science is broadly appreciated, its potential for astronomy is not so widely known, We present a brief outline of some of the benefits of using robots in space-based astronomy. We hope to engage the astronomy community in demonstrating the capabilities of robotics and how this type of technology can be deployed to maximize the scientific return from space-based astronomy missions. We consider in particular the role of the European Robotic Arm (ERA) mounted on the International Space Station (ISS) in the proposed XEUS (X-ray Evolving Universe Spectroscopy) mission. We also consider other potential areas in which robotics can enhance astronomical technology. We submit that robotics will become increasingly important for astronomy as an observational discipline for future generations of astronomy platforms in space.

Additional Metadata
Journal Astronomy and Geophysics
Citation
Ellery, A. (2003). Robotics in the service of astronomy. Astronomy and Geophysics (Vol. 44, pp. 23–25).