Humans vs. Machines in the Exploration of Space

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Space scientists are deeply divided on the question of how best to explore space. Some claim that exploring with humans is frightfully expensive and dangerous, that the Space Shuttle has set back the cause of exploration, and that continuing to favor astronauts over robot spacecraft will set it back even further. And they are indeed correct – in the short run. I will argue that a measured increment of the human presence in space will eventually lead to even greater opportunities for all the space sciences. I will also point out how the proposed colonization of other planets, the mining of the asteroids, and the expansion into the outer solar system, and perhaps the galaxy, may secure the survival of the human species.


Keywords: Space Science, Space Exploration, Robotic Exploration, Human Exploration, Space Shuttle
Stream: Knowledge and Technology
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Humankind in Outer Space


Dr. Gonzalo Munevar

Professor, Humanities, Social Sciences and Communication, Lawrence Technological University
Southfield, Michigan, USA

I was born in Colombia, received my Ph.D. in philosophy of science at Berkeley. I have taught at Nebraska (Omaha), Evergreen, and now Lawrence Tech. I have also been a visiting fellow or professor in universities in Spain, Japan, Australia, and Scotland, as well as at Stanford, Washington (Seattle) and Irvine. I have published many books, including Radical Knowledge, Evolution and the Naked Truth, and The Master of Fate (a novel) as well as dozens of papers. I am presently completing a book on the philosophy of space exploration, The Dimming of Starlight.

Ref: T08P0270