It's arguable that robots made astronauts redundant decades ago. As long ago as the early 1970s, the Soviets put two robot vehicles called Lunokhod on the Moon. They spent over a year exploring its surface, travelling almost 50km and carrying out soil analysis. The robot explorer Luna 16 even scooped up some lunar soil and brought it back to Earth for detailed study - and all without risking human lives or vast amounts of money. Few remember these robotic triumphs, as they were overshadowed by the far more dramatic manned Apollo missions. Over the last 30 years, there have been huge advances in robotics - including Asimo, with his sophisticated walking and vision systems. Perhaps one day politicians will twig this, and stop ploughing huge sums into redundant manned missions. But don't hold your breath.