posted on Aug, 21 2009 @ 04:46 AM
I wonder about this, 'cause I know that prior to Apollo, there were advocates of just sending unmanned probes to the moon. I'm sure we did learn a
lot that probes and robots couldn't have told us, but my question is what, specifically?
Surely if we'd sent a robot in 1969, the fact that we were using 1969 technology would have yielded a different level of usefulness compared to what
we've currently got crawling around on Mars, because a lunar robot with yesterday's computer technology would have been much less capable of
autonomous operation. However, the moon's a lot closer to home, which would have made direct radio control much easier.
And as long as we're on the subject, what do we stand to learn by sending humans to Mars that we couldn't learn by sending robots? Don't get me
wrong, I'd love to see it happen, but a trip to Mars has such a lower likelihood of a safe return that it seems prudent to consider whether a
flesh-and-blood human wandering the surface really stands to gather all that much more data than a machine could.