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Monday, February 11, 2008

More money for Mars?

Little late again, but this is an interesting story:

The boss of the European Space Agency has asked his officials to find a new name for the flagship ExoMars mission.

But why?

Well essentially it is because it is no longer the same mission, it has developed into something bigger and better. Which is cool. But then this is not so cool:

"Now we have a scientific mission as much as a technological mission, meaning that the ExoMars 2008 is heavier, is more complex and is more costly." The increased cost may present real problems for some countries, however. In particular, the UK, which had signed up to be a lead partner on the mission, now faces having to find tens of millions of euros extra to maintain its position on the project.

Hmm, I wonder where they are going to find the extra money? How much does the CEO of STFC get? That might get them some way there; doesn't matter if its only a tiny drop in the ocean, STFC have shown that even the smallest amounts help.

Mr Dordain said he had been encouraged lately by the UK's attitude, which in the past he has described as "anomalous" because of the nation's relative reluctance to get involved in the agency compared with Germany, France and Italy.

"The UK is the second richest country in Europe and the sixth [largest] contributor in Esa," he told BBC News.

"And this is all the more an anomaly because there are a lot of capabilities in the UK; there is a fantastic scientific community, there are good industrial capabilities and it is a pity that the British government is not taking more benefit from these assets."

Hah! Yes, indeed, well depends on who you are thinking about really.

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