Britain’s Astronomer Royal Martin Rees has argued that sending humans into space when robots could do the job just as effectively is a waste of money and space exploration should be undertaken by billionaires and those willing to pay for it. their trips out of pocket.

“I’m wary of the idea that human spaceflight is worthwhile,” Rees said during the Lord Speaker’s Corner podcast, which features members of the House of Lords.

“Now that robots can do things that humans were needed for 50 years ago, the case for sending humans gets weaker and weaker all the time.”

The title of Astronomer Royal is largely honorary. It was established by King Charles II in 1675 to advise the monarchy and has in the past been worn by some of Britain’s most distinguished scientists.

Rees also argued that space travel should only be for those prepared to accept a “very high level of risk” and that it should be paid for privately rather than by taxpayers.

Britain’s space programs have traditionally focused on space exploration rather than manned missions.

Helen Sharman was the first British astronaut to go into space as part of the Soviet Union’s Soyuz TM-12 mission in 1991.

Twenty-four years later she was followed by Tim Peake, who traveled to the International Space Station as a member of the European Space Agency’s astronaut corps.

Four US citizens who have participated in NASA missions were also born in Britain.

Rees, who was awarded the title of Astronomer Royal in 1995, points out that he does not agree with Elon Musk’s ambitious plans to colonize Mars, but applauded his achievements in both rockets and electric cars.

“He’s done a much better job than the big consortia that used to work for NASA in producing efficient rockets that can be reused and that will make it cheaper to send people into space,” he explained.