With the success of Curiosity everyone is calling for manned missions to Mars by 2030, but I take the opposite view – let’s do more sophisticated robot missions. Is having some people walk around the most ambitious thing we can do? Or is having a really powerful AI robot explore for us the most ambitious and most useful? Which will have the most bang for the buck here on Earth?

Space missions are expensive and there is no money, in our now diminished and small-minded politics, to pay for them. Right now in the glow of the success of Curiosity many are pointing out how these accomplishment “inspire” us (and they do) but it’s unlikely we’ll tax the rich just for some inspiration, esp. when science is under attack today by religion. Those who try to justify the missions from a practical POV always bring up “spinoffs”, IOW, spending 2.5B$…

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By alco67

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