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Robots In Space: Technology, Evolution, and Interplanetary Travel (New Series in NASA History) Kindle Edition
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Entertaining reading.(Commercial Dispatch)
Excellent, eye-opening, horizon-broadening reading! Highly recommended.(Choice)
Noted space historians... breathe new life into the subject by examining its history as well as its possible future. They call for a new vision of human spaceflight—a 'transhuman' program that takes into account current trends in robotics, artificial intelligence, genetic engineering and other fields that are rapidly changing the nature of both humans and machines.(Air and Space Magazine)
This short volume manages to capture the history of U.S. space flight, to explain the underpinnings of U.S. space policy and to plot out the possibilities for our future in space in a style that most anyone can enjoy.(Andrew McMichael Park City Daily News)
A timely and thought-provoking read, no matter what side of the humans vs. robots debate one is on. Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in where our species is ultimately headed in space.(Liftoff)
Should interest any intelligent reader with an interest in the history and future of space exploration, whatever technology is applied. Its mix of historical background and social context, entirely due to the authors' long experience, takes the reader well beyond the usual issues of technical challenge and budget limitations, while numerous selected quotations accentuate the human element.(Mark Williamson Space Times)
An examination of the history of the various arguments for sending humans and machines into space, and their relative merits. It is an authoritative, detailed look at how these arguments evolved and what the future of humans and robots in space might hold.(Jeff Foust Space Review)
A remarkably well-written and lucid book... about the ongoing debate within the American civil space agency between proponents of human spaceflight and those who advocate robotic or 'unmanned' spaceflight.(Capt Bryce G. Poole, USAF Air and Space Power Journal) --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
From the Back Cover
Outstanding Academic Title, Choice Magazine
Roger D. Launius and Howard E. McCurdy expound upon the possibilities and improbabilities involved in trekking across the Milky Way and beyond. They survey the literature, both fictional and academic studies; outline the progress of space programs in the United States and other nations; and assess the current state of affairs. Their conclusion would be startling only to those who haven’t spent time with Asimov, Heinlein, and Clarke: to traverse the cosmos, humans must embrace and entwine themselves with advanced robotic technologies.
"Noted space historians... breathe new life into the subject by examining its history as well as its possible future. They call for a new vision of human spaceflight—a 'transhuman' program that takes into account current trends in robotics, artificial intelligence, genetic engineering and other fields that are rapidly changing the nature of both humans and machines."— Air and Space Magazine
"A timely and thought-provoking read, no matter what side of the humans vs. robots debate one is on. Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in where our species is ultimately headed in space." —Liftoff
"An examination of the history of the various arguments for sending humans and machines into space, and their relative merits. It is an authoritative, detailed look at how these arguments evolved and what the future of humans and robots in space might hold."— Space Review--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B07DFLVP8J
- Publisher : Johns Hopkins University Press (February 11, 2008)
- Publication date : February 11, 2008
- Language : English
- File size : 1141 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 448 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The first few pages of this book are just a terrible mess. Thought flow is absent in the writing. This continues throughout the entire book. Once the information in a chapter is presented it is possible to fit all the pieces together. Yet I am constantly thinking, "Wouldn't there be a better way to present your argument and information?" At one point I considered the book as a rough draft. The impression given is of a college student sitting down writing opinions and then going back in to add an example or two. Then to end the book they say "Wow, wouldn't it be cool if this... and this.. and this!" There is little connection of thought between examples and opinion.
The introduction questions the current names of spaceflight types (such as manned), throwing the reader for a loop. Instead of using generally accepted words, they choose their own. Their words, however, are not perfect choices and they have to go through some silly hoops to use them. This leaves the reader with some strange definitions to apply during the entire book. I don't mind the introduction of new politically correct words. Physics defines heat differently than the common usage. Definitions vary. However, the final results leave me wondering if they actually put any real thought into all the available choices.
I had to get this book for a course. But I laughed when they used a quote from a frequent forum-goer to illustrate one of the points for human spaceflight (in a book that isn't part of my course, I wouldn't have cared). This book is filled with strange citations.
Finally, the writing changes depending on the type of spaceflight being discussed. There was a distinct effort to point out all the negative aspects of human spaceflight. The other two options had significantly less effort put into similar sections. Valid arguments were mentioned and ignored in each section.
There really is no point to get this book unless you want to get a quick look at the different types for spaceflight (but stop at the first chapter). Sometimes I wonder if my professors read the material they require for students....
At the dawn of the space age, besides working on America's rocket program, Wernher von Braun wrote popular articles that emphasized humans in space as a continuation of America's tradition of exploration and settlement. The authors point out that such utopian visions have often been part of terrestrial exploration, and that they continue to fire the imaginations of those who want to see humans in space. Von Braun's vision stalled. Sending humans into space for military purposes turned out to be unnecessary. Even the Space Shuttle program was not consistent with the aims of the utopians. It might have been part of von Braun's vision of being transport to a space station, but it was essentially a "space truck" with little potential for getting us to other worlds. Of course von Braun relied on machines to get humans into space, but his plan greatly underestimated how good our robots were going to get, and how quickly they would fill commercial, military, and exploratory needs. It is still expensive to send robots into space, but they do not require money to be spent on life support, and in particular, they do not have to return to Earth to get their jobs done, while humans need to get back home. Maybe, however, there will be humans that don't need to make the return trip, and maybe the robot / human dilemma is a false one, one that could be resolved by combining the two. Take the durability and limited needs of robots and combine them with the adaptability and intellect of humans, and you start thinking about what is called transhumanism or posthumanism. This includes cyborgs (from "cybernetic organism") and there may be further combinations of machines and humans, and perhaps also genetic tinkering. Maybe humans making such journeys will be like no humans who ever came before them.
The authors know that they are merely conducting "intellectual exercises designed to broaden one's thinking about the options involved." Humans won't be able to live on Earth forever; even if we were taking perfect care of our environment, we can't count on an eternal Sun. The authors admit, "It disappoints us to think that humanity might forever be confined to a single world," and are not attracted to the idea that we would simply send out robots to do our exploration for us. They quote a former NASA official: "We don't give ticker tape parades for robots." As much speculation as there is in the book, there is also a serious assessment for what is needed in the future. The prospects for human colonization within the solar system look small, even for the most likely of future homes, Mars. Assessing planets outside the solar system has just begun, and the authors see this as the top priority for space exploration. Other priorities include finding a more effective propulsion system, because our current rockets won't get humans, robots, or cyborgs very far very fast; reducing the cost of space travel; and civil partnerships with privately owned space industries. Even these priorities, which the authors view as realistic, some might see as mere science fiction. Only a few decades ago, however, travel to the Moon was mere science fiction. _Robots in Space_ is about a lot more than just robots, and although it is a sober and thoughtful examination of serious ideas, it is a mind-stretching trip.