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The value of humans in the biological exploration of space

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-243
Number of pages11
JournalEarth moon and planets
Volume94
Issue number3-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004
EventRoyal-Astronomical-Society Specialist Discussion Meeting - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Dec 2004 → …

Abstract

Regardless of the discovery of life on Mars, or of "no apparent life" on Mars, the questions that follow will provide a rich future for biological exploration. Extraordinary pattern recognition skills, decadal assimilation of data and experience, and rapid sample acquisition are just three of the characteristics that make humans the best means we have to explore the biological potential of Mars and other planetary surfaces. I make the case that instead of seeing robots as in conflict, or even in support, of human exploration activity, from the point of view of scientific data gathering and analysis, we should view humans as the most powerful robots we have, thus removing the separation that dogs discussions on the exploration of space. The narrow environmental requirements of humans, although imposing constraints on the life support systems required, is more than compensated for by their capabilities in biological exploration. I support this view with an example of the "Christmas present effect," a simple demonstration of human data and pattern recognition capabilities.

    Research areas

  • life on Mars, human space exploration, robotic space exploration, MARS, LIFE, LESSONS, ROBOTS

Event

Royal-Astronomical-Society Specialist Discussion Meeting

10/12/04 → …

United Kingdom

Event: Conference

ID: 25226317