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Towards an integrated scientific and social case for human space exploration

Crawford, Ian (2004) Towards an integrated scientific and social case for human space exploration. Earth, Moon, and Planets 94 (3-4), pp. 245-266. ISSN 0167-9295.


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I will argue that an ambitious programme of human space exploration, involving a return to the Moon, and eventually human missions to Mars, will add greatly to human knowledge. Gathering such knowledge is the primary aim of science, but science's compart-mentalisation into isolated academic disciplines tends to obscure the overall strength of the scientific case. Any consideration of the scientific arguments for human space exploration must therefore take a holistic view, and integrate the potential benefits over the entire spectrum of human knowledge. Moreover, science is only one thread in a much larger overall case for human space exploration. Other threads include economic, industrial, educational, geopolitical and cultural benefits. Any responsibly formulated public space policy must weigh all of these factors before deciding whether or not an investment in human space activities is scientifically and socially desirable.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The original publication is available at
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Human spaceflight, space exploration, Moon, Mars, international cooperation in space
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Science > Earth and Planetary Sciences
Depositing User: Sandra Plummer
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2006
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2016 09:29

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