Feeds

Aurora rattles tin for space exploration

Scientists say government must chip in

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Scientists will today argue the case for UK involvement in Aurora, the European Space Agency's mission to explore space beyond Earth's orbit, aiming first for the moon, and then Mars.

The UK has already contributed to the planning phases of the programme - identifying likely missions and so on - through the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council [PPARC]. Now, the ESA has asked for participating nations to commit an extra €39m to keep the programme going over the next 18 months. It has asked for answers by the end of September this year.

Professor Ian Halliday, PPARC Chief Executive said that the science case for Aurora is very strong, but that PPARC doesn't have unlimited funds, and would need government help: "Time is not on our side, we need to decide pretty soon, otherwise our expertise will be eroded and we will be overtaken by others."

Scientists including Professor John Zarnecki of the Open University, Dr. Sarah Dunkin from the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and Vice President of the Royal Astronomical Society and Dr. Mike Healy, Director Earth Observation, Navigation and Science at EADS Astrium have all lent their support to the programme. They will make their presentations to a panel of government officials, including representatives of the Parliamentary Space Committee, at this year's International Farnborough Air show.

Dr. Dunkin said that unless the UK got involved in exciting space science now, the country could lose a generation of scientists. "There's a real and present danger that our younger scientists will simply up sticks and move to other countries that are involved," she said.

Prof. Zarnecki argued that Aurora will deliver world class science, and said that UK scientists had a chance to take a lead role. Dr. Healy agreed: "We have acknowledged leadership in entry, descent and landing systems and these will be key technologies required for Aurora. Not to capitalise on such technology would be a complete waste of all the expertise that went into the Beagle and [Cassini] Huygens Landers."

Member states, including the UK, will have to decide whether to participate in the full Aurora programme by the next ESA Ministerial meeting planned for June 2005. ®

Related links

The PPARC press announcement

Ariane 5 powers satellite into orbit
Mission to map the Aurorae launches 26 July
ESA on mission to surf gravity's waves
ESA to probe Earth's magnetic field
Final report on Beagle 2

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning
Lava-spitting Bárðarbunga prompts action from Met Office
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
LOHAN Kickstarter breaks NINETEEN THOUSAND of your EARTH POUNDS
That's right, OVER 9,000 beer tokens - and counting
Major cyber attack hits Norwegian oil industry
Statoil, the gas giant behind the Scandie social miracle, targeted
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.