Robots in Space: Technology, Evolution, and Interplanetary Travel

Overview

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...

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Overview

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

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Commercial Dispatch
Entertaining reading.
Choice

Excellent, eye-opening, horizon-broadening reading! Highly recommended.

Air and Space Magazine
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.
Park City Daily News
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

Liftoff

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.

Space Times
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

Air and Space Power Journal
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

Space Review
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

Park City Daily News - Andrew McMichael
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.
Space Times - Mark Williamson
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.
Space Review - Jeff Foust
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.
Air and Space Power Journal - Capt Bryce G. Poole
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.
Choice
Excellent, eye-opening, horizon-broadening reading! Highly recommended.
Liftoff
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.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801887086
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2008
  • Series: New Series in NASA History
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author

Roger D. Launius is a senior curator at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum and the former chief historian of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). He has authored and coauthored several books on space exploration, most recently The Smithsonian Atlas of Space Exploration. Howard E. McCurdy is a professor in the School of Public Affairs at American University and the author of Faster, Better, Cheaper: Low-Cost Innovation in the U.S. Space Program and Space and the American Imagination, second edition, both published by Johns Hopkins.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     ix
Introduction: A False Dichotomy     xi
The Human/Robot Debate     1
Human Spaceflight as Utopia     32
Promoting the Human Dimension     62
Robotic Spaceflight in Popular Culture     96
The New Space Race     125
Interstellar Flight and the Human Future in Space     162
Homo sapiens, Transhumanism, and the Postbiological Universe     191
An Alternative Paradigm?     220
Inadequate Words     253
Notes     257
Index     303
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