Space travel `a waste of money'

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The Independent Online
MANNED SPACE exploration is a waste of money with no economic rationale, says Professor Heinz Wolff - who has spent half his life designing objects for crewed spacecraft.

Similarly, astronomy is a branch of science whose value is more cultural than practical, as "its impact on the actual nuts and bolts of living is small," Professor Wolff told the Edinburgh International Science Festival.

Best known for his role as a judge in BBC Television's Great Egg Race series, in which people try to design machines to solve problems against the clock, Professor Wolff also holds the chair of bio-engineering at Brunel University. He has designed various innovative objects - including a "glovebox", used to provide a sealed environment to carry out experiments in space, and now used on the Mir space station and the space shuttle. But he said: "There is no evidence whatsoever that there is anything worth having out there. Even if the moon was carpeted with diamonds, it would not be worth it because diamonds are not expensive enough."