Plans for human exploration of the solar system and beyond often polarize opinions among the public and scientific communities.
Some believe that humanity should progress outwards one stage at a time, while others insist that greater scientific returns are to be had by launching bolder missions, with humans exploring the planets sooner rather than later. Dr. Kai Multhaup, a physicist working at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster in Germany, is firmly in the “one step at a time” camp, as he recently explained at Europlanet’s Planetary Science Congress.
“Human spaceflight is not just about science, I see it as a driver for evolution. We are an exploratory species, and when we have the technology to go somewhere, we do. It’s about culture and the human desire to evolve and expand, and to protect ourselves against catastrophes which can erase life on planets and end civilizations.”