Monday, March 08, 2010

Hawking asks:What's the future of manned vs robotic missions?

I read in an article in "The Daily Galaxy" online magazine, that Stephen Hawkings has asked a question that has certainly weighed on many person's minds, exactly what is in the cards so to speak, concerning space exploration missions and will they be robotic or human crewed missions.

Hawing has said:
DVD-1081-2_300x375 "Robotic missions are much cheaper and may provide more scientific information, but they don't catch the public imagination in the same way, and they don't spread the human race into space, which I'm arguing should be our long-term strategy. If the human race is to continue for another million years, we will have to boldly go where no one has gone before."

The concern being, will robotic explorers be able to step outside their mission parameters, to say, recognize lifeforms that it was not specifically programmed to look for.

Astronomer and planetary scientist at Cornell University Jim Bell in an article in Scientific American said that you might think that being so heavily vested in robotic exploration that he would dismiss manned missions as too costly but he added: “Although astronaut missions are much more expensive and risky than robotic craft, they are absolutely critical to the success of our exploration program."

The article continues with quotes on the subject from luminaries like Ben Bova.

Read complete article here

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