This is one of several recommendations made in a report published today [13th September 2007] by the UK Space Exploration Working Group [SEWG], an advisory committee established by the UK Government’s British National Space Centre [BNSC]. The report findings were announced today at the BA Festival of Science in York.
The SEWG was tasked in January this year to review current worldwide plans for space exploration as defined by the Global Exploration Strategy¹ – an international initiative that involves fourteen national space agencies including the UK - which outlines the ambitions of the world’s space-faring nations including China, Russia, India and Japan. The Global Exploration Strategy heralds a new era of exploration that will see humans and robots working in partnership on the surfaces of the Moon and Mars, while fleets of unmanned probes venture out across the far reaches of the solar system.
‘We recommend that the UK engages in preparatory human space flight activities’, said Professor Frank Close, University of Oxford and Chairman of SEWG. ‘Simultaneously we should maintain and extend the UK’s significant role in planetary science and robotic exploration. The UK has had a great tradition in exploration over the centuries but it is now time for a new vision’.
The Working Group’s recommendations stress the need to be involved ‘at the start’ in this grand challenge of space exploration which it believes provides key opportunities for the UK to shape and participate fully in space science whilst building on its position as a centre of excellence for science, technology and innovation. Engaging in both human and robotic elements together will generate valuable scientific knowledge says the report and return value to the UK through technological challenges, innovations and new commercial ventures. The report recommends the UK should establish a detailed plan to enable a decision to be made on whether the UK becomes involved in human space flight in the decade beginning 2010 if it wishes to take advantage of the excellent scientific opportunities that appear in a range of disciplines in the period beyond 2020 when there are plans to establish a permanently crewed lunar outpost.
Professor Close added, ‘For the first time in history the world’s space agencies are planning to work together on the human exploration of the Moon, Mars and perhaps asteroids, with accompanying robotic missions to prepare the way. This is not science fiction – it is the real thing. A high-profile, UK-branded presence in human space exploration would engage British society in the full excitement of space exploration and help to inspire a new generation of scientists and engineers’.
The UK Space Exploration Working Group was tasked with reviewing global plans for space exploration, assessing the opportunities and benefits for UK participation and advising on a suitable focus for UK activities should it decide to engage more strongly in space exploration – including manned space. The resulting conclusions and recommendations have been submitted to UK Space Board, the governing body of BNSC.
Commenting on the report’s recommendations Professor Keith Mason, Chair of UK Space Board and CEO of The Science and Technology Facilities Council, a key partner in BNSC said, ‘the working group has produced a comprehensive report and set of recommendations which will contribute and feed into the new UK Civil Space Strategy currently being developed by BNSC and scheduled for publication this autumn’.
Professor Mason added, ‘Given the global interest in space exploration with the USA, China and India having already announced their intention to establish manned lunar bases, then this report is particularly timely. We shall give serious consideration to its recommendations’.
Tracing aromatic molecules in the early universe
23.03.2017 | University of California - Riverside
New study maps space dust in 3-D
23.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
23.03.2017 | Life Sciences
23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences