The Dark Side of the Moon, Op Ed by Bob Park, NY Times
"Two mechanical geologists, Spirit and Opportunity, are doing this even now, by searching for evidence of water on opposite sides of Mars. They don't break for lunch or complain about the cold nights, and they live on sunshine. They've been at it for nearly two years, yet their mission costs less than sending a shuttle to the International Space Station. The brains of Spirit and Opportunity are the brains of geologists back on Earth." ... "Few scientists are calling for a human mission to the Moon or Mars. Human space exploration is essentially over."
Editor's note: Once again Bob Park crawls out of his intellectual crypt to dump on human spaceflight. As is always the case, Bob shoves out his ossified examples without fully researching them - and hurls them forth as if they were absolute statements of what entire segments of the space research community - and the public - feels. Were he to have bothered to ask the Mars Exploration Rover PI, Steve Squyres, what he thinks about having humans on Mars, a large hole would be blown in Park's argument. Surely such an opinion would carry some merit. But again, Bob is lazy when it comes to presenting the facts. Here is what Sqyures said exactly one year ago on this topic at the "Risk and Exploration Symposium" in Monterey:
"And when I hear people point to Spirit and Opportunity and say that these are examples of why we don't need to send humans to Mars, I get very upset. Because that's not even the right discussion to be having. We must send humans to Mars. We can't do it soon enough for me. You know, I'm a robot guy. I mean, I love Spirit and Opportunity - and I use a word like "love" very advisedly when talking about a hunk of metal.
But I love those machines. I miss them. I do. But they will never, ever have the capabilities that humans will have and I sure hope you send people soon."
Read Squyres' full commentary