Britain should rethink its long-held opposition to involvement in human space exploration and take part in future manned missions to the moon and beyond, an expert committee from the Royal Astronomical Society said this week.

After 9 months of gathering expert opinions and data, a group of scientists asked by the RAS to examine the scientific case for human space flight concluded that "profound scientific questions relating to the history of the solar system and the existence of life beyond Earth can best--perhaps only--be achieved by human exploration on the Moon or Mars, supported by appropriate automated systems."

The expert committee included Frank Close from Oxford University, John Dudeney from the British Antarctic Survey, and Ken Pounds from the University of Leicester.

Specifically, their report notes that human involvement is needed to map the evolution of our Sun by studying the lunar surface, search for life on Mars, and...

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