Guardian Backs RAS Report
Released in October 2005, the report recommended that the UK government should re-evaluate its long-standing opposition to British involvement in human space exploration.
Professor Frank Close, Chair of the Commission, said, “We commenced this study without preconceived views and with no formal connection to planetary exploration. Our personal backgrounds made us lean towards an initial scepticism on the scientific value of human involvement in such research.
“However, while fully recognising the technical challenge and the need for substantial investment, we have, nevertheless, been persuaded by the evidence presented to us that the direct involvement of humans in situ is essential if we are to pursue science of profound interest to humankind that can only be undertaken on the Moon and Mars. Autonomous robots alone will be unable to realise those scientific goals in the foreseeable future.”
Dr. John Dudeney, commented, “The wider commercial, educational, social and political benefits add justification to the substantial expenditure that full UK participation in an international programme of Human Space Exploration will require."
Following considerable publicity around the time of the report's release, the conclusions of the report have now been given further strong support by the Guardian article, which is entitled: "How To Revitalise Science? Send a Briton Into Space."
The article continues: "Astronauts do not come cheap, but it's a price worth paying for the boost it would give to physics and engineering."
RAS Report press release:
RAS Report (in full):