Oppy or Armstrong? Autonomous vs human space exploration



Dublin 2019: An Irish Worldcon, in association with Science Gallery Dublin, invites you to an exciting discussion about the future of space exploration with a panel of expert guests at 19:00 on Wednesday, 14 August 2019 at the Paccar Theatre in Science Gallery Dublin.

Join Dr Noelle Ameijenda (astrophysicist, currently modelling the electrical power system), Aliette de Bodard (award-winning author of The Tea Master and the Detective), Dr Inge Heyer (Senior Lecturer in Physics & author of Investigating Astronomy), Geoffrey A. Landis (scientist & author of Mars Crossing), and Dr Jeanette Epps (scientist & NASA astronaut) as they debate the topic of 'Oppy or Armstrong? Autonomous vs human space exploration'.

The Mars Explorer Rover, nicknamed Opportunity (“Oppy”), launched in 2003, cost US$400M and operated for 15 years. While an impressive achievement, what more could have been done with a sustained human space programme that was focused on Mars? Can the flexibility of an onsite human team justify the undoubtedly higher cost? What is the role of humans and robot probes in the exploration of space?

 Our panelists examine the various (dis)advantages of both human and robotic exploration of both Luna and Mars.

This is a special free event available to all-comers, but the Paccar Theatre has limited capacity and tickets must be booked in advance. There will be no admittance without a booking.

Our five panelists are members of The 77th World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon), which will be held for the first time in Ireland, from 15-19 August 2019 in the Convention Centre Dublin. The event features a multitude of programming from science presentations, to literature discussions, workshops, author signings, theatrical events, concerts and the Hugo Awards Ceremony. Sales of full and day membership passes will end at 00:01 on Friday, 2 August 2019 (Irish Time).

Artist's concept image of the Mars Exploration Rover is courtesy of NASA.


  • Date: 
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  • Where: Paccar Theatre
  • Price: FREE
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