systems. Similarly, space missions lasting as long as 2 to 3 years will provide an unusual opportunity to study human behavior under uniquely stressful conditions (confinement with no immediate possibility of escape). The committee emphasizes, however, that both of these possibilities are at this time not inherently of high scientific priority in the absence of a program of human exploration.
There will be significant limitations on humans performing scientific activities because of safety concerns and the restrictions on mobility and manipulation imposed by the design of current spacesuits. Technology development is required to improve spacesuits, biomedical diagnostic procedures, life support systems (both open and closed), and tools.
With the robotic technology expected to be utilized over the next few decades, using robots to perform certain scientific activities (e.g., field work) on extraterrestrial planetary surfaces will not be a realistic alternative to having humans on site. Technology development is required to improve both the capability of robotic field aids and the ability to control them remotely.
The next steps in the exploration of Mars should be carried out by robotic spacecraft controlled from Earth. As the program evolves to include human exploration, the optimal mix of human and robotic activities is likely to include proximate human control of robots with a shorter time delay than can be achieved from Earth.
Space scientists in non-planetary science disciplines will be in the best position to take advantage of the scientific opportunities enabled by a Moon/Mars program if there is a steady, phased program of scientific projects on Earth and in Earth orbit.
Astronauts with a high level of relevant scientific knowledge and experience must be included in Moon/Mars missions. Crew training and exploration planning should be designed to take advantage of human initiative, flexibility, adaptability, and deductive and inductive reasoning abilities.
Scientists must be involved in every stage of a Moon/Mars program from conception to execution to ensure that quality science is accomplished, the science supported best takes advantage of human presence, and resources available to the whole of space science are competitively allocated.
1. Space Studies Board, Scientific Prerequisites for the Human Exploration of Space, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1993.
2. Space Studies Board, Scientific Prerequisites for the Human Exploration of Space, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1993, page 46.