"Space is the domain of robots. NASA is about to land the semi-autonomous robot Curiosity
on Mars within the next few days, where it joins its two
less-sophisticated robot brethren, Spirit and Opportunity. There's a
good reason why these rovers are the first Earthlings first to set foot —
or rather, tire treads — on Mars.
"Even the simplest robot can survive
in space better than a human can.
As we program more and more of our smart machines to explore space,
we might discover a lot more than microbial life in the waters of
Europa. Instead, says celebrated science historian Richard Rhodes
(author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb), we might unwittingly create the first sentient robots."