The science behind the vision for U.S. space exploration: the value of a human–robotic partnership
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The Vision for U.S. Space Exploration offers new opportunities for aggressively increasing the pace of scientific discoveries across the Solar System by empowering an on-site partnership between humans and robotics, enhanced by new technology-enabled capabilities. In particular, the early emphasis of this new Vision will be on development of new scientific activities on the Moon, and later on Mars. Integration of in situ traditional science activities with creative new types of applied scientific research on the Moon and Mars is a key ingredient in the US Vision. The Apollo era record of achievement involving human exploration is particularly informative, as it demonstrates the accelerated pace of scientific discovery and understanding that resulted from human “on site” activities, however briefly, on planetary surfaces. An example of how integrated human and robotic exploration can enable breakthrough science on the planet Mars is provided in order to illustrate these points. The scientific opportunities associated with the Vision for US Space Exploration are many, and with the incorporation of human-based capabilities on the Moon and Mars, an accelerated pace of discovery and understanding will be possible.
KeywordsApollo human space exploration Mars Moon robotic space exploration
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