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Friday, 13 October 2017 10:32

No, human space exploration is not a dead end

Written by  Marillyn Hewson

Marillyn Hewson is chairman, president and chief executive of Lockheed Martin Corp.

For Post columnist David Von Drehle, NASA’s renewed focus on human space exploration is “unnecessary” and “a dead end.”

I fundamentally disagree with this assessment.

I was excited to see President Trump ensure that the United States remains the leader in space by reestablishing the National Space Council. Under the leadership of Vice President Pence, the council held a meeting last week for the first time in nearly 25 years, announcing a distinct objective: promote a clear U.S. space policy and enact the reforms necessary to strengthen American leadership in space.

Von Drehle’s argument against human space exploration boils down to three main questions, and I’d like to address each of them.

First, why send humans into space when we can just send robots?

Robots can do remarkable things in space. We know firsthand, having built or contributed to robotic missions on every planet in our solar system. But robots are limited by some critical factors: Being millions of miles from Earth, communication signals are significantly delayed, and we can’t operate robots in real time. A human can instantly sense, analyze and respond to his or her surroundings in ways that robots never could.

Read more at WashingtonPost

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