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Why Support Human Spaceflight?

8 Jan 2013, 02:14 UTC
Why Support Human Spaceflight?
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It seems that an eternal question plagues conversations about the future of commercial or governmental spaceflight: “To man (a spacecraft), or not to man?” -This query is one I am often posed when I reveal my own spaceflight ambitions. Many wonder why we bother with the incredible expense of sending humans off-world when critics argue that 1) [...]

NASA plans to test the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle in low-Earth orbit in 2014. (Image credit: NASA)
It seems that an eternal question plagues conversations about the future of commercial or governmental spaceflight: “To man (a spacecraft), or not to man?”
-This query is one I am often posed when I reveal my own spaceflight ambitions. Many wonder why we bother with the incredible expense of sending humans off-world when critics argue that 1) the same or better work could be performed with robotic spacecraft; 2) laboratory experiments in space add little value to what we can achieve here on Earth; or 3) that in the context of state-supported spaceflight these activities divert crucial funds from other social needs.
Well, as it would turn out, former NASA Director of Life Sciences Dr. Joan Vernikos has answers.
Defending Human Spaceflight
Astronaut Edward ...

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