Brit on the Moon?
A British astronaut on NASA' s Moon mission?
The 'Guardian' reported on 26 April that UK scientists are in talks with NASA about joining the US space agency's plans to return to the moon. The mission could include a British crew member who would land on the surface.
David Parker, of the British National Space Centre, was reported as saying: "We have an open mind to see whether there are benefits from their programme. We want to be at least involved in the discussions at an early stage."
Current government policy is for the UK not to take part in manned space missions but in an independent report commissioned last year by the RAS there was a call to re-examine this position. The report can be read here Human Space Exploration.pdf (393.50 KB 18.10.2005 12:21)
A briefing note published on 26 April by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology gave the following summary of current UK engagement :
- The UK’s public sector expenditure on civil space activities is around £200 million per year; 65-70% goes to the European Space Agency (ESA).
- The UK is actively involved in preparation for the next stage of Aurora, ESA’s manned mission to Mars, and in several earth observation missions.
- There are concerns over falling levels of industrial contracts awarded to the UK space industry from ESA.
- A 2004 National Audit Office report pointed to lack of coherence in the UK’s space strategy and the British National Space Centre has taken measures to address
this; however some concerns remain.
- Preparation for the government’s comprehensive spending review 2007 is now underway and BNSC partners are developing proposals for space activities.