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Calling the Space Privateers

6 Sep 2012, 21:27 UTC
Calling the Space Privateers
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Today, I’d like to offer a rejoinder to Michael Hanlon’s article from The Telegraph a couple of weeks back, entitled, “There’s only one question for NASA: Is anybody out there?“ In it, Hanlon offers an argument against regular human space exploration in favor of dedicated robotic missions devoted exclusively to astrobiology research. Whether via orbiters, landers, rovers, or [...]

Closeup of Jack Schmitt at Rover with Earth above during Apollo 17 Lunar EVA 3. (Credit: NASA)Today, I’d like to offer a rejoinder to Michael Hanlon’s article from The Telegraph a couple of weeks back, entitled, “There’s only one question for NASA: Is anybody out there?“
In it, Hanlon offers an argument against regular human space exploration in favor of dedicated robotic missions devoted exclusively to astrobiology research. Whether via orbiters, landers, rovers, or telescopes, he argues that working to answer the question of whether or not we are alone in the universe has the advantages of “being scientifically valid, being relatively cheap and connecting with the public imagination.”
Some concessions about the efficiency of human explorers aside, Hanlon makes it perfectly clear how he feels about all research that isn’t astrobiology-related, deriding the Space Shuttle program as “pointless” and the ...

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