THE SCIENTIFIC CASE FOR HUMAN SPACEFLIGHT
Forty years ago, on 12 April 1961, the era of human spaceflight dawned when Yuri Gagarin completed a single, 108 minute, orbit of the Earth on board Vostok 1. Exactly 20 years later, on 12 April 1981, the first U.S. Space Shuttle, Columbia, was launched from Cape Canaveral.
In April 2001, the Space Shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to begin the 104th flight of America's reusable spacecraft, the latest mission in the seven-year programme to construct the largest structure ever to be placed in orbit, the International Space Station.
· Dr. Kevin Fong (University College, London), who will describe the programme of life sciences research to be carried out on the International Space Station.
· Dr. Alex Ellery (Queen Mary College, London), who argues that there is a place for both robotic and human space missions.
· Dr. Arvind Parmar (ESA-ESTEC), who will describe the three high-energy astronomy missions that may be carried out on the International Space Station.
· Dr. Olivier Minster (ESA-ESTEC), who describes plans for European research in the physical sciences on board the International Space Station.
· Dr Julian Hiscox (University of Reading), who argues that human explorers will be required to answer the ultimate question: "Has there ever been life on Mars?".
· Nick Cross (University of St. Andrews), who will discuss some of the scientific questions that remain about Mars, and the contributions that human exploration could make to improving our understanding of the Red
· Dr. Andrew Coates (Mullard Space Science Laboratory/UCL), who believes that robotic probes offer a much cheaper, safer, and more productive way to explore the Cosmos.
· Dr. Ian Crawford (University College, London), who argues that science stands to benefit greatly from the infrastructure developed to support a human space programme.
RAS Press Officers Peter Bond
Dr Jacqueline Mitton