Forty years ago, on 12 April 1961, the era of human spaceflight dawned
when Yuri Gagarin completed a single, 108 minute, orbit of the Earth
on board Vostok 1.

Exactly 20 years later, on 12 April 1981, the first U.S. Space Shuttle,
Columbia, was launched from Cape Canaveral.

In April 2001, the Space Shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to begin the
104th flight of America’s reusable spacecraft, the latest mission in the
seven-year programme to construct the largest structure ever to be placed
in orbit, the International Space Station.

In order to mark these key events in the history of human space
exploration, and to explore the scientific benefits of human spaceflight,
a one-day symposium on “The Scientific Case for Human Spaceflight” will
be held on Thursday 5 April, as part of the UK National Astronomy
Meeting in Cambridge.

The symposium, which has been organised by Dr Ian Crawford (UCL) and Dr
Sarah Dunkin (Rutherford Appleton Laboratory), will cover all aspects
of the scientific arguments for and against people in space.

The meeting will be divided broadly into four sections:

(1) The International Space Station.

(2) A return to the Moon?

(3) The human exploration of Mars.

(4) The scientific case for and against the human exploration of space.

The programme includes:

* Lunar scientist Dr. Paul Spudis (Lunar & Planetary Institute, Houston),
an advocate of returning humans to the Moon in order to complete the
scientific exploration of our nearest celestial neighbour.

* Dr. Kevin Fong (University College, London), who will describe
the programme of life sciences research to be carried out on the
International Space Station.

* Dr. Alex Ellery (Queen Mary College, London), who argues that there is
a place for both robotic and human space missions.

* Dr. Arvind Parmar (ESA-ESTEC), who will describe the three high-energy
astronomy missions that may be carried out on the International Space

* Dr. Olivier Minster (ESA-ESTEC), who describes plans for European
research in the physical sciences on board the International Space

* Dr Julian Hiscox (University of Reading), who argues that human
explorers will be required to answer the ultimate question: “Has there
ever been life on Mars?”.

* Nick Cross (University of St. Andrews), who will discuss some of the
scientific questions that remain about Mars, and the contributions that
human exploration could make to improving our understanding of the Red

* Dr. Andrew Coates (Mullard Space Science Laboratory/UCL), who believes
that robotic probes offer a much cheaper, safer, and more productive
way to explore the Cosmos.

* Dr. Ian Crawford (University College, London), who argues that science
stands to benefit greatly from the infrastructure developed to support
a human space programme.


Dr Ian Crawford,

Dept. of Physics & Astronomy

University College



Tel: +44 (0)20-7419-3431

Fax: +44 (0)20-7380-7145

Mobile phone: 0777-6234317



Dr Sarah Dunkin

Space Science Dept.

Rutherford Appleton Laboratory




OX11 0QX

Tel: +44 (0)1235-446861

Fax: +44 (0)1235-445848