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Fully robotized space exploration impossible — Russian space official

Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center head Pavel Vlasov said that taking any radical approach to the issue will be harmful

MOSCOW, April 13. /TASS/. Space exploration will be impossible without human involvement, the head of Russia’s Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center said, commenting on an earlier statement by a Russian scientist.

Earlier, Vyacheslav Dokuchayev, a leading researcher at the Institute for Nuclear Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told the Govorit Moskva radio that there was currently no need to send humans into space, because all recent discoveries have been made by robots. He also described the International Space Station (ISS) project as a "waste of time," during which "the cosmonauts only conduct a research into who made a hole in the hull" - an apparent reference to the recent pressure leak incident at the ISS.

Commenting on the statement, Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center head Pavel Vlasov said that taking any radical stance on the issue will be harmful.

"The truth lies in between. Humans won’t be able to do their work without support of robotized systems, while automated systems will be useless without humans, especially during extraterrestrial missions. We cannot do without humans," Vlasov said.

Earlier, the director of the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), Lev Zeleny, told TASS that he saw no need to maintain permanent human presence at a lunar base, in part due to the space radiation threat.

"However, occasional manned missions will be useful for installing and adjusting equipment," he said.

Russia is currently developing its lunar program, which includes a manned mission to the Earth’s natural satellite. During the mission, cosmonauts will carry out their research jointly with robots.