Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Exomars given UK backing

The British government has approved a higher than normal spend on a future space mission. 108m euros (£73.2m) has been allocated to the Exomars lander which will launch for 2011. Speaking at the ministerial meeting, science minister Lord Sainsbury said: "As a major contributor, the UK will have a leading role in this programme which is set to improve our understanding of Mars and the Solar System." The probe will use similar airbag landing systems to previous sucessful landers, but will bring some exciting new science to the Red planet, including a drill which will be able to dig deep into the Martian surface.