As a result of new technologies, the reestablishment of human cognition and dexterity on the Moon can precede the return of humans to the lunar surface. These telepresence technologies are in rapid development for many commercial and defense applications here on Earth. The ways that such activity on the lunar surface can serve science and development needs, and prove out concepts for exploration at more distant sites, is discussed. While this activity can be done without landing humans in a gravity well, the importance of astronauts is nevertheless unequivocal in that, in order to provide for low communication and control latency, human controllers have to at least be close by. To the extent that high quality telepresence depends on both high bandwidth and low latency communication, design strategies for achieving those are considered. These strategies involve key trades in mission design and operational flexibility.
While Lunokhod on the Moon and the Mars rovers have offered some degree of telepresence, the engineering immaturity of the former and the high latency for the latter make the telepresence achieved with those vehicles of decidedly low quality.
We review the cognitive requirements for high quality telepresence, and consider the opportunities that such a strategy brings at least to lunar science. For latency, the human reaction time of 100-200 ms seems a key metric with which to evaluate different control locations. Bandwidth requirements are dominated by vision. Human vision, at a frame rate that serves the human reaction time is, when properly compressed, of order 1 Mb/s. As human surrogates (not necessarily anthropomorphic ones) become vastly more capable, offering vision, mobility, and dexterity, potentially on scales that in situ humans can