The new frontier.. manned vs. unmanned

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The new frontier.. manned vs. unmanned

Post  The one and only Gerson on Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:17 pm

What are the advantages of using robots in space environments? What are the advantages of using humans in space? What jobs are they each best suited for? What is the best way to use robots and humans in space?


Last edited by The one and only Gerson on Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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To infini and beyond! wait, I need food!

Post  The one and only Gerson on Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:27 pm

Similar to other areas, robots can go other places that humans cannot, they are expendable. They don't have to be sent with lots of resources and you don't have to worry about psychological or physiological problems, so they can be sent on slow missions requiring less fuel, and thus a smaller launch cost. Also if the robot sends its data back via microwave or radio, you don't need the technology or expense of getting the robot back to Earth (or wherever it was launched from). However, humans have the unique ability of spontaneity, to adjust to findings that aren't expected. Whereas robots do what they are told, human experts can figure out what to look for. Robotics CAN be remote controlled to balance these things, but for distant places, the time delay is pretty large, and data can often get scrambled.

Thus it seems to make sense to send out a wave of robots for exploration first, so that we can learn about where we are heading and run some preliminary tests to figure out what to do when we get there. Then, once we figure out what we need to survive there, we can send a team of human experts to do in situ testing to get better results that can then be used for future developments. This enables us to maintain a higher level of safety for astronauts, and combine their qualities with the benefits of robotic technology.
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Let's not forget why we're going to space.

Post  Chip Hermann on Sun Aug 30, 2009 9:33 pm

Sure, space can yield useful data as to how other planetary systems work and some of the history of our universe, but is any part of that data applicable to our lives on Earth? The answer is a resounding "No". We don't want to go to space because we think it can provide useful information. We want to go because we as a species have an insatiable curiosity and wonder for things bigger than ourselves. Simply sending robots to do all of the work takes the adventure and flavor out of traveling to the last frontier. I agree that robots should be sent in advance to gather information, but only as a stepping stone for humans to eventually make the journey. I just feel that we should always keep pushing the limits of human exploration because WE were the ones who first gazed upon the stars and felt humbled by their beauty. WE were the first to push the boundaries of our existence. And WE want to explore the extremities of the universe to satisfy some primal instinct that lusts for answers to some of the most profound questions we can ask.

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