As I listened to the first radio reports of the tragedy that exploded the Challenger's crew and passengers into oblivion, the question, "Why man in space?" resurfaces. This must have been the question of any reflective person from the beginning of the space spectaculars--carefully staged public relations spectaculars featuring ecumenical crews, strategically balanced to capture maximum support and federal dollars.
After we absorb the impact of this terrible event, could not this be the occasion for a re-examination of the astronomical cost of manned space stunts? Could we not have gained all of the needed scientific information more quickly and more economically by sophisticated unmanned vehicles? Let us have an answer to this question from a qualified person who is not a spokesman for the vast apparatus that benefits from manned space ventures.
C. CHESTER BRISCO