Our Robot Masters

There's a great - and I'm sure some will consider quite provocative - interview with Lord Martin Rees over at the Beeb. I enjoyed Rees' books Our Cosmic Habitat and Just Six Numbers immensely, and I think he's right on the money when he argues that Europe would be better served focusing on unmanned space exploration rather than chasing after costly and - as yet - unproductive manned missions.

That said, my own wishlist for the European Space Agency would focus more on making them like their NASA counterparts. Visiting the website of a NASA mission - Cassini in particular, but others too - you really get the impression that they're trying to be as open and accessible as they can towards the people who funded them (ie. American tax payers), and by happy extension the rest of us too. ESA, on the other hand, is a more distant organisation, and I always double check their image use policy before posting anything they've come up with - even though it was my money that paid for it.

Or perhaps the ESA robots are just less inclined to be generous towards their squishy progenitors.

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