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THE SCIENTIFIC CASE FOR HUMAN SPACEFLIGHT

Last Updated on Thursday, 06 May 2010 20:30
Published on Wednesday, 23 February 2005 00:00

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.

In order to mark these key events in the history of human space exploration, and to explore the scientific benefits of human spaceflight, a one-day symposium on "The Scientific Case for Human Spaceflight" will be held on Thursday 5 April, as part of the UK National Astronomy Meeting in Cambridge.  

The symposium, which has been organised by Dr Ian Crawford (UCL) and Dr Sarah Dunkin (Rutherford Appleton Laboratory), will cover all aspects of the scientific arguments for and against people in space.

The meeting will be divided broadly into four sections:

(1) The International Space Station.

(2) A return to the Moon?

(3) The human exploration of Mars.

(4) The scientific case for and against the human exploration of space.

The programme includes:

· Lunar scientist Dr. Paul Spudis (Lunar & Planetary Institute, Houston), an advocate of returning humans to the Moon in order to complete the scientific exploration of our nearest celestial neighbour.  

· 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
Planet. 

· 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. 

CONTACT:

Dr Ian Crawford, Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, University College,  London WC1E 6BT 

Tel: +44 (0)20-7679- 3431 Fax: +44 (0)20-7380-7145  Mobile phone: 0777-6234317 E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

OR

Dr Sarah Dunkin, Space Science Dept., Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Chilton, Didcot, Oxon OX11 0QX 

Tel: +44 (0)1235-446861 Fax: +44 (0)1235-445848 E- mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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AND 

Dr Jacqueline Mitton
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