Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Machine vs. Man

Time for blogging is a little short this week, for reasons I'll explain in the near future. I did want to point out an interesting article in The Christian Science Monitor though. There is quite broad agreement among scientists that scientific goals are far more easily, safely and cheaply attained through the use of robotic space missions, rather than manned missions. The CSM article discusses this from a variety of viewpoints. For my tastes, I liked the following quotes from James Van Allen, professor emeritus at the University of Iowa.
""I'm one of the most durable advocates for space exploration around," But beyond Apollo's moon landings and missions to service the Hubble Space Telescope, he adds, human spaceflight hasn't contributed as much to humanity's understanding of the cosmos as increasingly sophisticated unmanned probes.

"It's the cost," he says. "If it was easy to do, I'd be all for it." But with record federal deficits, an increasingly expensive war in Iraq, problems with Social Security, and other demands on the federal purse, the benefits to science from human spaceflight over the past 10 to 15 years have not justified the cost.""
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