Some anniversary thoughts (and a mention of my property-rights piece) from Adam Keiper.
Interestingly yesterday was also the 50th Anniversary of the Mariner 2 mission to Venus, the very first exploration of another planet by a spacecraft. It is sad it was hardly noted by space advocates.
Yet in the 50 years since Mariner 2 robotic missions have gone on to study and map every major planet in the Solar System from space and are currently on their way to the dwarf planets of Ceres and Pluto. Today there are multiple orbiters around Mars and two rovers exploring its surface, while the Cassini spacecraft is exploring the Saturn system and MESSENGER is exploring Mercury. Robotic spacecraft have also explored several comets and asteroids while the Voyager spacecraft are searching for the edge of the heliosphere. Most of these exploration have occurred in the 40 years since humans have retreated from the Moon to huddle in LEO. Something to think about.
I’m all for machines, but you have to recognize their limits. All their exploration will be dwarfed when we finally have investigators on site (who still will be using machines.)
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