"The Role of Manned Space Flight After the Shuttle Program"," The fir atastronaunts didn't have to travel far from earth or stay a long time in space.
Robots are becoming more advanced and cost effective.
On Mars robots have certainly proved their worth and are currently being used successfully.
An important example of a role for manned space flight is a trip to an asteroid.
Asteroids range in size from 600 miles in diameter to the size of pebbles.
Asteroids can be an important source of minerals.
As this article is being written an orbiter is sending back pictures of Vesta one of the 2 largest asteroids in the asteroid belt.
In the most simplest of scenarios the space craft could dock along side the asteroid and fire its engines and give the asteroid a slight push which could be enough to divert it from colliding with earth.
Another example of where manned space exploration is needed is Mars.
The colonization of mars is inevitable.
Mars reddish color is from the Iron oxide in its soil which gives it a rusty color.
The argument can be made that there are plenty of desolate places on earth to settle.
The chances of an asteroid or comet impact happening to the Earth and Mars th as it sees fit.
The US must land on Mars and claim certain areas for itself before competing countries take the mineral rich areas.
The launch pad is ready and all systems are go.
I hope the US government gives them the budget and backing they need.