The future of space exploration could belong to robots and billionaires
There was that wake-up call when Lord Martin Rees said that the world’s space agencies should scrap plans to send astronauts to Mars and the Moon and leave them to robots and billionaires who could privately risk and finance such adventures.
For viewers, it looks different. However, does this statement mean that the future of space exploration belongs to robots and billionaires?
I don’t want to agree, but recent events support his line of debate.
Martin Rees, the expert astronaut, argued that more sophisticated artificial intelligence and technical improvements have shown that robotic missions are increasingly capable of space exploration and construction, making it more mandatory for space agencies to perform human missions.
According in Rees, “We shouldn’t have publicly funded programs to send people to the moon, let alone Mars. It’s extremely risky, extremely expensive, and there’s no practical or scientific benefit to sending humans. This is a very bad deal for the taxpayer.
Rees added that we should encourage robot explorers and billionaires who want to explore space in the minds of Scott and Shackleton, who both died on expeditions to Antarctica.
Rees’ comments have led to some defense from pundits, however. They argued that government-backed space missions are a way to show inspiration and project soft power. For them, the private sector can transform space into the “Wild West”.
In particular, Didier Schmitt, the expert in robotic and human exploration, expressed that the act of using human spaceflight as power projection and soft power will continue.
According to him, “leaving human exploration to the private sector risked” a far west approach to space. It is important to balance private exploitation with public exploration in space. And it is a duty for governments, not for the free market, to enthuse the younger generation.
Why robot explorers are becoming superior to humans in space
This exciting instrument would reveal new information about everything from planets orbiting other stars to the rise of galaxies and the early years of the universe, opening humans’ metaphorical eyes to the cosmos in an unprecedented way.
Additionally, the location of the JWST shows why robotic explorers are becoming superior to humans in space. With NASA opting to depend on an astronaut-influenced space shuttle to put the Hubble into orbit, the organization condemned the telescope stay 340 miles above the Earth’s surface.
At its modest altitude, the telescope suffers considerably from reflected light from the Earth’s surface, as if astronomers had designed fashionable ground-based telescopes in Greenwich instead of Chile or Hawaii.
The JWST currently orbits the Sun and Earth at a point called “L2”, which is about a million miles away. The unique location provides orbital stability alongside the darkness of space and cold temperatures.
Additionally, astronauts made six trips to Hubble to upgrade and repair its instruments and mirror. The missions, which took place between 1993 and 2009, installed corrective lenses, upgraded mirrors, changed gyroscopes and extended the life of the telescope more than NASA had envisioned.
These represent the greatest contribution of astronauts to the exploration of the cosmos in history.
Meanwhile, Nasa has yet to consider a JWST design that will allow astronauts to repair or work on their $10 billion masterpieces. This shows a big difference between launching humans into near Earth orbit and sending them beyond the moon.
The JWST is created to function robotically while responding to commands from Earth by humans. Related considerations apply to a trip to Mars more than 100 times larger than the JWST, which takes about seven months.
In the meantime, humans have sent around 50 robotic spacecraft to the Red Planet, each spending several months without the need for food, oxygen or water. Some of the missions succeeded while others failed, showing disappointment but no major catastrophe over the loss of astronaut life.
Currently, NASA’s Perseverance rover and his helicopter began a detailed examination of the delta, an ideal place to search for ancient signs of life.
Unlike the early rovers which had to be guided from Earth into each rock, Perseverance could control the terrain on its own. And future rovers would have greater capabilities.
Thanks to human talent, robots have become increasingly competent, unlike bodies that are not, showing a decreasing need for astronauts to assemble or explore space structures.
Yes, humans respond or react more deeply to other human beings; however, sending astronauts into space, providing them with the means to survive in the harsh environments of Mars, and returning them safely to Earth will cost billions of dollars.
The cost will also be significant since taxpayers need NASA to be highly secure, as the lives of publicly funded civilians are at stake.
In a similar vein, Rees, who backs the idea of robotic space exploration in a new book, “The end of the astronautsthinks private astronauts would motivate observers like space agency astronauts.
To some extent, I want to toe Rees’ line in believing that such trips or ventures, while inspiring, should belong to private sponsors and billionaires who could sponsor cut-price businesses after the events.
Over the next two decades, we should continue to use publicly funded efforts to hone our robotic capabilities, send explorers out to explore the solar system, and craft large structures with them in space like solar energy harvesters. .
Human spaceflight, especially beyond low earth orbitshould belong to billionaires and robots!