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Mexican lawmakers are in the process of setting up a national space agency, according to Reuters. The lower house in Mexico City has given the green light to a proposal that could see rocketry in development within the year.

The politicians aren't under any illusions that they'll be able to rival NASA's spend which, at about $16bn, is getting on for the GDP of Cameroon. A Mexican science and technology commission spokesman said: "We'd love it to become the Mexican NASA, but obviously the levels of investment are incomparable. It's very distant, perhaps not in the vision but in resources."

The initial outlay would be just $2m, about enough for an inflatable globe and a bottle rocket, but it's a start. The early days of the agency will concentrate on developing technology and working with universities and industry on satellite launches.

Not everyone's keen on the idea. Ruling group the National Action Party voted against the move, saying the cash would be better spent on trying to tackle widespread poverty. ®

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