Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Britain Rethinking Its Role in Manned Spaceflight

Science News Article |

I wasn't aware that Britain has a policy of no funding for manned spaceflight. They don't contribute anything to the ESA for that purpose, and any British astronauts that have flown on the shuttle have done it under another nation's flag. However, a new study by the Royal Astronomical Society endorses sending humans to the Moon and Mars as well as British involvement.

"We find that profound scientific questions relating to the history of the solar system and the existence of life beyond Earth can best -- perhaps only -- be achieved by human exploration on the Moon or Mars, supported by appropriate automated systems," they said in the report.
Their endorsement of combined robotic and manned exploration validates both the ESA's Aurora Exploration Program and the US Vision for Space Exploration, and for that matter the aspirations of China's manned space program. It looks like a common vision of getting humans out of Earth orbit and out into the solar system is taking root. I find that comforting, since it's vital for the long-term survial of our species.

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