Last week’s poll: is there a place for humans in space?

Our poll last week either showed an admirable hard-nosed practicality among readers of The Engineer, or it proved that most of you have no trace of romance, sense of adventure or pioneer spirit in your souls. Asked whether there is still a place for humans in spaceflight, we had one of the largest responses ever — and almost 60 per cent of you said that human spaceflight is an expensive, risky irrelevance. The other three options each received roughly equal backing: 15 per cent thought that the ability of human spaceflight to focus attention on science and technology made it worthwhile; 14 per cent thought that the adapability of humans meant that they could do more, and more complex, tasks than robots; and 13 per cent said that human spacefligh recognised that mankind’s ultimate destiny must be away from Earth.


So, are spacesuits a waste of time and energy? Were the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab and Shuttle programmes money down the drain? Should Neil Armstrong have stuck to test-flying fighter planes? And is the goal of sending people to Mars ultimately pointless? Let us know what you think.