According to Wired's Adam Mann, space exploration will not involve spaceships travelling through space manned by the modern equivalent of Columbus or Magellan: rather, it will be a combination of humans in remote locations controlling an array of purpose-specific machines.
Nowadays some scientists and engineers at NASA and other space agencies are taking a second look at historical exploration scenarios. In the past, robotic and human exploration have been seen as rivals, we either do one or the other. Some in the spaceflight community have said we can do everything with machines while others argued that exploration is a man's job. But there's another option. The still-nascent field of telerobotics, where humans operate robotic surrogates from afar, means that our next exploration efforts will be quite unlike anything seen before.With ever-improving computing power and communication protocols, astronauts could float in a space station in orbit around the moon or Mars, donning exoskeleton controllers to teleoperate robots in real time. These probes would drive, fly, drill, dig, scoop, and gather material faster and with more precision than current probes controlled from Earth. The best part of humans, our powerful brains that can identify the perfect geologic rock sample and make decisions on the fly, would be combined with all the advantages of robots -- their advanced cameras, suites of instruments, and bodies that aren't prone to degenerative problems like blindness and bone loss after months of space travel. One day our mechanical proxies could even help humans visit places that would destroy our bodies, like the hellish surface of Venus or the frozen ocean of Europa."I don't want to replace the humans in space with robots," said NASA engineer Geoffrey Landis, who works with the Spirit and Opportunity rover science team and writes science fiction. "But I think it's a good way to start. Because we do have robots and the robots are getting much better, while the humans are evolving much more slowly. Let's not do humans or robots, lets work together."
And it looks like NASA has been keeping busy. Reportedly, the "space agency has apparently been thinking about setting up a manned outpost beyond the moon's far side, both to establish a human presence in deep space and to build momentum toward a planned visit to an asteroid in 2025."
|European Union Wants Police to be Able to "Remote Stop" Cars|
|A Future of Electric Self-Driving Cars Powered by Renewable Sources is Inevitable|
|How the Electric Car is Going to Take Over the World|
|"Workers are losing the race between education and technology."|
|How the Driverless Car Will Change Society|
|Future Horizon's Plasma Lightsabers|
|“Everyone is doing it.”|
|Japanese Robot Serves Ice Cream From Inside a Vending Machine|
|“The U.S. is officially fighting wars in seven countries.”|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|“Democracy is dying in the full light of day. Who will step in and lead when it matters?”|
|“Facebook is a data collection service for those who want to sell you products.” #deleteFacebook|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|EM Drive Appears to Work in the Vacuum of Space|
|When the Wrong Hastag Can Get You Killed by an Assassination Drone|
|Naked Preacher Lady [NSFW]|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|