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“When ships embarked upon voyages of discovery in the late 15th century the crew did not know what, upon arrival, they would find. They sailed literally into the unknown and in the process often died for their pains. I think a slow and cautious dispatch of unmanned probes to nearby stars before risking any human exploration or colonisation is guilty of the charge of health and safety madness. Interstellar colonisation should not be postponed by 250 years while unmanned missions map the sphere within, say, 10 lights years of Earth.” – Health and safety gets blamed again, this time in a blog by a UKIP candidate, who had included in his election leaflet a pledge to invest over £1 billion in sending nanoprobes to outer space to mine platinum.

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