The Carbon or Silicon Colonization of the Universe?

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B. Parkinson (2005), JBIS, 58, 111-116

Refcode: 2005.58.111
Keywords: Space exploration, remote experience, human Mars mission

At the time of the Apollo Programme, a first human mission to Mars was proposed as early as 1984 with the argument that the higher costs of human exploration would be more than justified by the increased effectiveness of human explorers. This was based on the Apollo experience, where “ground truth” measurements and sampling provided the basis for subsequent unmanned exploration of the Solar System. A human Mars mission is now not seen until 2030, at the end of a series of increasingly sophisticated unmanned probes. Each robot mission not only teaches us something about Mars, but also through experience increases our capabilities for the unmanned exploration of that planet. As a consequence, what a human mission would have to do becomes progressively more demanding. Any extended plan for the human exploration of Space will tend to be overtaken by advances in technology, and if this is not factored into the scenario the proposals will become progressively unrealistic.

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