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    Astrobiological benefits of human space exploration

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

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    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: School of Science > Earth and Planetary Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2011 09:14
    Last Modified: 08 Jun 2016 09:38


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