Feeds

Sod robots, send people into space: report

Manned missions will inspire the nation

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

People must be at the heart of the UK's space exploration efforts, according to a report published today. The report's authors contradict the UK's long-held policy that robots are where it is at, both scientifically and financially, when it comes to touring the solar system. They argue that it is time for a new vision.

"We recommend that the UK engages in preparatory human space flight activities", said professor Frank Close, University of Oxford and chairman of the UK Space Exploration Working Group (SEWG).

"Simultaneously we should maintain and extend the UK’s significant role in planetary science and robotic exploration. The UK has had a great tradition in exploration over the centuries, but it is now time for a new vision."

The fabulously named SEWG was convened by the British National Space Centre, which asked it to review international space programmes, both national and collaborative. The team concluded that we are opening a chapter of unprecedented collaborative exploration, and that the UK needs to be in at the start.

The team is not arguing for an abandonment of robotic exploration. Both human and robotic explorers have a part to play in generating scientific knowledge and inspiring the public, they say. But it is time to reconsider the priority given to robots. The report's authors say a decision must be taken by 2010 about how involved the UK wants to be in human spaceflight.

The report recommends the UK should establish a detailed plan to enable a decision to be made on whether the UK becomes involved in human space flight in the decade beginning 2010 if it wishes to take advantage of the excellent scientific opportunities that appear in a range of disciplines in the period beyond 2020, when there are plans to establish a permanently crewed lunar outpost.

The group argues that, by 2015, the UK could send two astronauts into space at a cost of roughly £50m-£70m, according to the BBC report. This would help engage the public, inspire a new generation of space scientists, the group says, and put the UK in a position to take advantage of the opportunities that a (much planned) permanently manned lunar base would offer. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.