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Astrobiological benefits of human space exploration

Crawford, Ian A. (2010) Astrobiological benefits of human space exploration. Astrobiology 10 (6), pp. 577-587. ISSN 1531-1074.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/ast.2010.0476

Abstract

An ambitious program of human space exploration, such as that envisaged in the Global Exploration Strategy and considered in the Augustine Commission report, will help advance the core aims of astrobiology in multiple ways. In particular, a human exploration program will confer significant benefits in the following areas: (i) the exploitation of the lunar geological record to elucidate conditions on early Earth; (ii) the detailed study of near-Earth objects for clues relating to the formation of the Solar System; (iii) the search for evidence of past or present life on Mars; (iv) the provision of a heavy-lift launch capacity that will facilitate exploration of the outer Solar System; and (v) the construction and maintenance of sophisticated space-based astronomical tools for the study of extrasolar planetary systems. In all these areas a human presence in space, and especially on planetary surfaces, will yield a net scientific benefit over what can plausibly be achieved by autonomous robotic systems. A number of policy implications follow from these conclusions, which are also briefly considered.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Astrobiology, space exploration, human spaceflight
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Science > Earth and Planetary Sciences
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2011 09:14
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:20
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/3111

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