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Lord Martin Rees FRS talks to Professor Catherine Heymans

Human journeys into space fill us with wonder. But the thrill of space travel for astronauts comes at enormous expense and is fraught with peril. As our robot explorers grow more competent, governments and corporations must ask, does our desire to send astronauts to the Moon and Mars justify the cost and danger? Lord Martin Rees FRS believes that beyond low-Earth orbit, space exploration should proceed without humans.

The United Kingdom’s Astronomer Royal, Martin Rees was previously Professor of Astronomy and Director of the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge. His latest book, co-written with Donald Goldsmith, is The End of Astronauts. Professor Catherine Heymans is Astronomer Royal for Scotland.

Hay Festival is back in-person for its 35th spring edition, bringing writers and readers together for inspiring conversations, debates, workshops and performances 26 May–5 June 2022. Over 11 days, this year’s programme promises a thrilling line-up of over 500 events, launching the best new fiction and nonfiction, while offering insights and debate around some of the biggest issues of our times in a programme of conversations featuring more than 600 award-winning writers, policy makers, pioneers, innovators and performers. Festivalgoers can explore the programme and book tickets at

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