* Posts by Tom 74

1 post • joined 28 Jun 2009

Buzz Aldrin weighs into NASA

Tom 74

time to end it?

Some say build a base on the moon, others say go direct to mars, some say a manned space station around the moon, Aldrin says go to the asteroids and phobos. There is very little agreement... why is that? probably because all of those missions have equally little scientific value compared to the equivalent robotic mission. There are two reasons why such programs are getting funded, firstly the idea that doing such a technical challenge helps develop new technology. This reason doesn't hold up, we could equally build a machine to bore into the earth's crust while carrying an elephant safely, that would also be a massive technical challenge. The second reason is the idea that it brings enthusiasm and unites people; but people will only unite if they feel it is really a step forward.

However, every year that passes robotic missions become more and more capable, cheaper and lighter. The future of space is robotic, just because sci fi has people living in space doesn't mean that's what will happen or that its what we should aspire to.

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