Robots vs Humans For Outer Space?

Will space exploration ultimately use robots or humans? NASA predicts a 300-pound humanoid robot that they’re building for the International Space Station will help open up the solar system, “and will allow us to go farther and achieve more than we can probably even imagine today,” while the U.S. Air Force also plans to launch its first robotic X-37B space plane. One science reporter even suggests a brain implant linking us to robots, “greatly reducing communication time across the vast expanse of space,” using though-controlled communication, for example with lasers.

But President Obama has announced human astronauts will still continue to be transported into space using commercial contractors after the space shuttle’s retirement. “Interestingly, President Obama indicated that his ultimate goal is to build a virtually indefinite human presence in space with the United States at the lead,” says Justin Kugler, who works in NASA’s ISS National Laboratory Office. “He set milestones of…manned long-duration missions beyond Low Earth Orbit (perhaps to an asteroid) by 2025, and manned missions to Mars orbit in the 2030s.”

But it works the other way, too. SETI scientist Paul Davies suggests any aliens exploring the universe will be machine hybrids, which are better able to endure extended exposure to space – and will surely outstrip our limited human biological intelligence!

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  • 5by5

    I vote for humans.

  • dumbsaint

    What I don't get – and believe me I'm totally for human augmentation – is how a brain implant would speed up deep space communication. The signal gets transmitted and then received back here. Regardless of what transceiver you use it would still need to cover the vast distance.

    I can see how controlling a robot's actions with a brain implant could be efficient (eventually, what they have atm requires a massive port on the top of the patient's head and the resulting control on a computer is pretty rudimentary.).

    • Adaugeo

      I believe what they are referring to on the speeding up of communication is multiple commands simultaneously and without having to process commands with secondary inputs like a joystick, glove, or some other device. It is misleading the way they wrote that as speeding up communications over the vast expanse of space. I suppose if each seperate input is calculated to the time it takes to get there and there are fewer seperate input commands it makes a little sense.

  • Adaugeo

    I believe what they are referring to on the speeding up of communication is multiple commands simultaneously and without having to process commands with secondary inputs like a joystick, glove, or some other device. It is misleading the way they wrote that as speeding up communications over the vast expanse of space. I suppose if each seperate input is calculated to the time it takes to get there and there are fewer seperate input commands it makes a little sense.

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