Last week’s poll: the UK and space exploration

Last week’s poll asked if Britain will capitalise on human space exploration and the answer was a resounding ‘yes’.

It was a ‘yes’ for human space exploration as a catalyst for inspiration and innovation (58%), a yes for it driving innovation (15%), and a similarly affirmative response for it being an important inspiration (13%).

Of the remaining votes, 8% thought space exploration of no use, and 6% couldn’t find a fit with their view. As always, we like to know why.

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PHOTO DATE: 06-16-15 LOCATION: Bldg. 7 - SSATA Chamber SUBJECT: Expedition 46/47 crew member and ESA astronaut Tim Peake during SSATA Chamber dry run. PHOTOGRAPHER: BILL STAFFORD

Is the UK going to benefit from the presence of British astronauts in space, or should it have stuck with robots, asks Stuart Nathan.

The UK’s involvement in human spaceflight is undoubtedly in its most successful period ever. After shunning human exploration of space for many years, the UK now has its first ‘official’ European Space Agency astronaut, Tim Peake, on board the International Space Station, and after ‘running the London Marathon’ in space (on a treadmill, hence the inverted commas) and taking control of a prototype Mars Rover in Stevenage, along with his regular Q&A sessions with schoolchildren, it seems that Major Peake is playing a major role in raising the profile of STEM and enthusing the next generation of scientists and engineers. The UK’s involvement is assured and may increase following the appointment of former UK Space Agency chief executive David Parker as head of human spaceflight and robotic exploration at ESA; he took up the post last month.

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David Parker

But the fact remains that for many years, it was thought that the UK should take no part in human spaceflight. Do we now think that was the wrong assumption?

The May 3rd Poll may be closed but we still value your opinion on this subject and would like to hear from you below.