For decades, there was debate among space exploration proponents about the relative merits of manned versus unmanned missions. Enthusiasts of sending astronauts argued that manned missions captured the public imagination in a way that robotic probes never could, besides serving the grand purpose of building a human future in space.Whole thing here.
Space probe proponents, including many scientists, emphasized the lower costs and far greater scientific payoff of robotic missions. They also noted the daunting difficulty of sending humans to Mars, let alone to the outer solar system where probes already travel.
The debate is now effectively over, and both sides have lost.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Solar system politics
My latest at FrumForum: "NASA Budget Grounds Space Probes." Excerpt: