Robots are the New Space Explorers instead of Humans

When anyone in today’s world talk about the Moon, no one bats an eye before talking about Neil Armstrong even though it’s been 50 years. This is because it is the one of the most inspirational moments for our generation. But now there is a different type of explorer responsible for our knowledge in modern day.

Emily Lakdawalla from the Planetary society says, “Since the days of Apollo, the greatest adventures in space have been these robots that have gone all over the solar system.” This was said because some robotic probes are always sent flowing past some planets or moon and other are made to land for research purposes instead of astronauts.

Robots New Space Explorers
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This picture shows NASA’s Cassini above Saturn’s northern hemisphere before making one of its “Grand Finale” dives. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

According to Emily Lakdawalla, it would be really exciting and inspirational to see an actual astronaut land on Mars. Astronauts are now exploring space through space station and as helpful as it has been for past 2 decades, it keeps the excitement numb.

Emily also talked about the way rovers can inspire us as you can basically imagine yourself in its place after watching the videos from NASA. People from all over the world enjoy six wheeled rovers moving around Martian surface while taking pictures.

NASA's Curiosity rover taken on Sol 2082
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NASA’s Curiosity rover taken on Sol 2082. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Matthew Shindell at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum located in Washington, Dc, has shared the insight that visitors always find time to look at the different version of rovers that were sent to Mars over the years. At the west end of the museum you can find Sojourner from 1997 and Curiosity from 2012 and every rover in between. “People love to come and see the rovers and really get a sense of what they look like up close and their actual scale,” Shindell tells.

Even though the audience and the populations have shown the greatest interest about explorations of Mars but people are curious about all the other planets too.

NASA Cassini Spacecraft
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This picture shows NASA’s Cassini spacecraft in orbit around Saturn. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Elkins-Tanton who is leading a mission to an asteroid called Psyche tells that the asteroid which is only made of metal gets people hooked as soon as they learn about it. “We’re sending this probe to a place that is absolutely uninhabitable in an Earth kind of sense,” she says. “Yet the engagement we’re getting from the public already two years before launch is profound. Its amazing people are so stimulated by thinking about something they’ve never imagined before, that humans have never visited.”

She also invites the public while saying, “We’re going to be sending the images that we get out onto the Internet for everyone in the world to see within a half-hour of our receiving them. So everyone in the world is going to see this crazy world at the same time and we can all scratch our heads together.”

The main idea of sharing the images of space missions is that people get to witness the hard work and passion of scientists working day and night on robotic explorers. She talked about NASA ceased the Cassini mission to Saturn, “There were cameras on scientists and engineers who were weeping openly at the end of this spacecraft. It really humanized the mission, and so it made that human connection that maybe in the past you only got through astronauts.”

References:

  • https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/main/index.html
  • https://psyche.asu.edu/ http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/
  • https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

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