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Polygence Scholar2022
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Samannita Mukherjee

Floral Park Memorial High SchoolClass of 2023Floral Park, New York

Project Portfolio

Who Should Be the Main Characters in the Space Exploration Narrative: Robots or Humans?

Started July 13, 2022

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Abstract or project description

The spacecraft industry is advancing and growing faster than before. According to the Space Foundation, the space economy grew at the fastest annual rate last year since 2014. So far, in comparison to unmanned missions, fewer manned missions have been launched. Past space missions have shown that manned and unmanned missions both have certain advantages and disadvantages which must be considered so future space missions can be carried out more efficiently and effectively. First, future unmanned space missions, such as the Europa Clipper and Artemis I missions were studied to learn how they will be conducted successfully. Then, future manned space missions, such as the Artemis II mission and the launch of SpaceX’s Starship spacecraft to the moon and mars, were researched to determine how they will be executed successfully. Lastly, the advantages and disadvantages of manned missions in comparison to unmanned missions were considered, where it was found that manned missions are 20% more successful than unmanned missions, but that unmanned missions tend to cost less than manned missions. This research highlights that manned missions allow astronauts to conduct experiments and create new solutions to problems that arise but can also be risky and costly. On the other hand, unmanned missions don’t endanger human lives, are less costly, and can reach farther planets with harsh conditions that humans can’t survive in. Accordingly, the cons of unmanned missions are the opposite of the pros of manned missions and the cons of manned missions are the opposite of the pros of unmanned missions. Overall, this work concludes that a combination of manned and unmanned missions need to be carried out in future space missions to make space exploration as safe, successful, and informative as possible.