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Britain wants mission to the Moon

Posted on Thursday, January 11 2007 @ 00:42:11 CET by

The UK is planning to launch an unmanned mission to the Moon to get new information about the rocky interior. Scientists say the idea is to launch four high-impact probes to the Moon in 2010.
"They will land on the moon at about 400mph. They will make various scientific measurements sampling various parts of the moon."

Prof Smith added that the mission would also test technology which could be used to explore Mars.

According to Dr Andrew Coates, of the Mullard Space Science Lab and who has contributed to the concept study, the impactors would represent the first time there had been a detailed study of the Moon's sub-surface.

"There have been 12 astronauts on the Moon and more than 40 unmanned probes and yet we know surprisingly little about our nearest neighbour," he said.

"Previous missions have focussed on the side of the Moon that faces the Earth. Our plan with Moonlight is for the first time is to explore the mysterious far side of the Moon as well."
Professor Sir Martin Sweeting claims small missions for the Moon are now possible for nations like the UK:
"Because, for the first time, it's now affordable," he told BBC News. "Current small missions to the Moon cost about 500 million euros. With advances in small satellites, we could probably cut the cost by at least a fifth."
He further explains that a UK Moon programme would give his country a foothold in what could become an important economical area.



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