The Royal Astronomer of Great Britain, Martin Rees, calls it a waste of public money to send people into space instead of robots. In his opinion, space exploration should be left to billionaires and those who are willing to pay for flights on their own, writes Reuters.

“I’m sceptical about the idea of a human space flight being worthwhile,” he said in one of the podcasts. “Now that robots can do the things that humans were needed for 50 years ago, the case for sending people is getting weaker all the time.”

Martin Rees is convinced that space travel should be available only to those who are willing to accept a “very high level of risk” and should be paid for by private individuals, not taxpayers.

The Royal Astronomer is largely an honorary title. It was established by King Charles II in 1675 to run the Greenwich Astronomical Observatory. Martin Rees received the title in 1995.

Earlier, he expressed disagreement with Elon Musk’s ambitions to colonize Mars. The Royal Astronomer called it a mistake to think that it is possible to solve problems on Earth by moving to the Red Planet.

However, he did not rule out the possibility that a group of people could travel to Mars before the end of this century.