WIDE ANGLE: How did the world react to Neil's "one small step" and will we be making a return trip?
Don't get me wrong, machines designed to explore another planet are very tough to build. It takes many years of software development and hardware assembly and testing which is going to be fraught with a lot of problems which require a lot of ingenuity to solve. But in the end, what we get is the equivalent of sending a digital camera millions of miles away to send us tantalizing pictures of things we're being told are "too impractical" for us to see.
Who cares about practicality? We need to be lighting up imaginations and getting people excited about our potential future in space. We need another one small step on alien soil. We need crews of ready and willing astronauts. And we need engineers and designers ready to help them get into space as effectively as possible.
If humans can't go, how are we ever going to get support for bigger and better space programs? By using only robots, we're effectively cutting the ultimate "cool factor" out of space exploration; the hope that one day, someone watching astronauts hopping on the Moon or jogging on Mars, or looking at the rings of Saturn from a command center of a ship in orbit around the gas giant, would get to do the same thing and see at least a tiny part of the cosmos firsthand. Why bother if that's never going to happen? Why spend any money on exploring places where we'll never tread? May as well just stay home, turn up the TV and continue not to care.