Feeds

Sod robots, send people into space: report

Manned missions will inspire the nation

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT
Especially if you are bad at them and keep losing
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Honeybee boffin STINGS OWN WEDDING TACKLE... for SCIENCE
Not the worst place to be stung, says one man
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.