Britain could finance manned Mars mission
By Katie Scott | Wired.co.uk
The UK could lift its long-standing veto on manned space flights as it considers creating a British rival to Nasa called Her Majesty’s Space Agency.
A review of the country's space strategy, due to be announced tomorrow morning by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, aims "to thrust the UK space sector forward for the next 40 years and beyond".
The announcement is timed to coincide with celebrations around the world marking the 40th anniversary of Nasa’s Apollo 11 mission and Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk.
In an interview with Wired.co.uk, Drayson said that the review would not result in a larger budget for space research in the UK, but could reverse the country's refusal to fund manned missions. He said the European Space Agency’s (ESA) selection of a British astronaut, Tim Peake, for its astronaut training programme and the agency's work towards a mission to Mars would help to capture the public imagination.
"We need to get the next generation excited about the idea of missions to Mars, as one of the people who might go from this country is probably a teenager today," he said. "We should keep a focus of the areas that we are good at – building satellites, space science, building probes etc – but also consider the probability of a British person going to Mars."
To date, the UK has only supported robotic explorations in space, and stipulated that the £180 million that it pays towards the work of ESA is not used for manned space programmes. As a result, the first Briton in space, Helen Sharman, travelled to the Mir space station on a Soviet rocket in 1991 as part of a privately funded mission. Other Britons who have also reached space did so by changing their nationality to become American or by going as space tourists with Russian space shuttles.
Drayson hopes to change this stance, but acknowledged that any UK manned mission would be the result of a collaboration with other nations. "Reaching Mars will be a huge scientific challenge but it won’t be done without a global effort," he said.
The consultation will also look at whether the current UK space body, British National Space Centre (BNSC), should be replaced by a new British space agency. Drayson suggested that the new agency will be called Her Majesty’s Space Agency.
In a statement, his department said: "The BNSC has helped the UK to build a hugely successful sector which is second only to the USA in space science, contributes £6.5 billion a year to the UK economy and supports 68,000 jobs.
"However, as the world becomes increasingly dependent on advances in space science and in order to safeguard the UK’s 'critical mass' of skills and expertise, today’s consultation is seeking views on the appetite for a single agency to better co-ordinate the UK’s civil space strategy."
The Government’s announcement comes one day before the official launch of the first European Space Agency facility in the UK. The International Space Innovation Centre in Harwell, Oxfordshire, which opens on Wednesday, will focus on finding everyday applications for space technologies, as well as power sources and robotics which could be used to explore the Moon and Mars.
It also comes less than a month after the Government announced the creation of the Space Innovation Growth Team (Space IGT). According to the BBC, the panel "...has been asked to lay out the challenges and opportunities facing the British space industry”.
The review due to be announced tomorrow morning is expected to produce preliminary findings by the end of the year and a full report in early 2010.
Online editing by Holden Frith
PHOTO CREDIT: Flickr CC: Bluedharma
Article from: Wired.co.uk
Mike Bara - Dark Mission, The Occult NASA Moon Mission
ESA photos of Cydonia - the face on Mars
Jim Marrs - The Secret Society Agenda, Alien or Human?
British National Space Centre
UK space base to open this week
Timeline: Humans in space
US Astronauts May Have to Leave Space Station in 2012
NASA, USDA Sign Space Station Research Agreement
Ted Twietmeyer - The Moon & Sun, Time & UFO's
Dark Mission: The Secret History of NASA, Enlarged and Revised Edition
Latest News from our Front Page
Pressure from the United Patriots Front Stops Mosque Plan
Pressure from the United Patriots Front appears to have killed off a mosque development in Narre Warren North.
The City of Casey council now looks likely to withhold planning approval for the development in a special meeting set for Tuesday night.
A council report, to be considered by councillors on Tuesday, recommends that the approval be blocked.
The mosque opponents’ cause has been helped by councillor ...
Police face questions over the influence of the Freemasons
South Yorkshire Police today face questions over whether powerful 'secret society' the Freemasons held sway over the force at the time of Hillsborough.
Families of victims say that officers who were Masons were promoted into powerful positions despite being ill-equipped, including match commander David Duckenfield.
Duckenfield told the fresh inquests he had been a Freemason since 1975 and became head of his ...
England Bans its Own Flag to Avoid Offending Muslims
St. George's Cross "racist" towards immigrants
Government officials said their city was ‘too multicultural’ to celebrate St George’s Day, England’s version of the 4th of July.
The council said that displaying the English flag may have been seen as “racist” towards immigrants.
Half of Western European men descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’
Half of Western European men are descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ who sired a dynasty of elite nobles which spread throughout Europe, a new study has shown.
The monarch, who lived around 4,000 years ago, is likely to have been one of the earliest chieftains to take power in the continent.
He was part of a new order which emerged in ...
"Local Residents" Are Filmed Stealing Dozens of Bottles of Water at London Marathon Stop
Editor's Comment: "Local" residents? Why bother blurring their faces? We know who they are.
London marathon runners were robbed of dozens of bottled waters when thieves raided a refreshment area armed with trolleys during today's race.
Nearby residents - including parents with children - were captured on camera piling up crates of free water handed out by volunteers during the 26-mile event.
|More News » |