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Friday, October 1, 2004

Britain Pledges Cash for Robots, Says No to Humans

Martian Astronaut
Martian Astronaut
Great Britain has pledged another £5 million towards the ESA's Aurora program, which hopes to send multiple robotic spacecraft to Mars, with the eventual goal of landing humans on the Red Planet. In the same statement, however, leaders ruled out British participation or funding for manned missions, saying that, "[A manned mission] hugely increases the costs without any obvious benefits."

Although the money for robotic missions will do a great deal to strengthen our understanding of Mars, we at Red Colony believe strongly that manned exploration is a necessity for humans to ever understand and utilize Mars. From a strictly scientific standpoint, humans with the right tools can outperform rovers to an unimaginable degree in almost every respect. Many scientists speculate that until we land actual humans on Mars we will never be able to resolve the question of whether or not life existed or exists on Mars. And when one looks the broader picture apart from purely scientific benefits, the advantages to a human presence on Mars can be seen to be incalculable. Not only would the public become much more involved, but we would have demonstrated the feasibility of many of the systems needed for actual colonization, which could pave the way for a new era for all of humanity.

Hopefully Great Britain, with its vast technical expertise and important legacy of investment in advanced technology, will reconsider this decision. In the meanwhile the robotic missions will continue to pave the way for the ultimate goal of spreading out to other worlds.

(More info: The Telegraph)

- posted by Brian @ 23:23 EST