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[i]Visitation of NEOs by robotic craft certainly paves the way for human exploration of specific asteroids in the future.
In understanding and coping with the hazard of devastating impacts by NEOs on Earth, we can learn about the physical nature of NEOs. Doing that, in turn, can incrementally enhance our our odds of effectively dealing with an NEO, should one of these objects be discovered that could gravely affect us. Furthermore, melding human and robotic abilities at an NEO serves as a test bed to perfect our skills for working at even greater distances.
In my estimation, human visits to NEOs can go part-way toward appreciating the challenges of travel to Mars, without invoking the most severe difficulties. Mars must remain a decisive destination, but NEOs offer a special, practical and inspiring challenge that gives us the "space legs" to propel deeper toward the red planet.[/i]
[i]No crew should travel for months on end and pull up to an NEO that's smaller than their own spacecraft![/i]
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