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Héctor Guerrero Padrón

Extraterrestrial Exploration URL: http://www.march.es/conferencias/anteriores/voz.aspx?p1=100198&l=2

Flights into space are the natural extension of exploration on Earth. They have allowed us to access outer space, a world without limits in which to immerse oneself and penetrate into, in search of the unknown. We are witnessing the beginning of an infinite period of discoveries in which after surpassing each frontier many others will emerge to explore.

In 50 years of manned flights, few more than 500 people have been into space and, yet, space missions form part of the collective aspirations of humanity. International cooperation is thus essential for effective space exploration.

How did it all begin? What were the conditions that made it possible to develop the technology necessary to escape the Earth’s gravity and leap into space? What difficulties do human beings encounter in adapting to this new type of exploration? What is the role of robotic missions? Extraterrestrial exploration was always motivated by observation and scientific research, the search for life and the understanding of the solar system. As the access to space has become more frequent, it is beginning to be seen from a more pragmatic dimension: What economic benefits would space missions bring us? Will we be able to exploit the resources that exist outside Earth?

After fleeting visits to the Moon, and various decades of human presence in the Earth’s orbit, asteroides, the Mars system and returning to the Moon are emerging as the next stages in an adventure that has only just begun.

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