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In his annual Autumn Statement yesterday, Chancellor of the Exchequer (Minister of Finance) George Osborne announced to the Commons that Britain has been chosen by Esa to lead Europe's mission to search for life on Mars.

Some 95 million will be invested in European Space Agency programmes, with the UK heading up the first European Rover mission to Mars which will search for life, past and present.

Mr Osborne also used the announcement to joke about the Labour Party's years in the electoral wilderness.

The Conservatives have often "gazed at barren wastelands of the Red Planet" but long given up hope of "finding intelligent life", Mr Osborne told the Commons.

The decision for Britain to lead the project was taken on Wednesday at a meeting of the European Space Agency's (ESA's) ruling council attended by Science Minister Greg Clark.

The British-built ExoMars buggy, which will drill into the Red Planet and send analysis back to Earth, is being tested on a mock Martian terrain at Airbus Defence and Space in Stevenage, Hertfordshire.


Britain to lead Europe's search for life on Mars, George Osborne reveals in Autumn Statement


UK has been awarded the 'lead role' in the 2018 ExoMars mission, the Chancellor reveals in move that puts Britain at forefront of space exploration


You can buy your own red box, if you have a spare 1,000 Photo: Reuters


By Ben Riley-Smith, Political Correspondent
03 Dec 2014
The Telegraph


Britain's Mars rover ExoMars will land on the Red Planet in January 2019 and will be the first Mars rover from neither the USA nor the USSR. The rover will use stained glass to prevent UV from changing image colours, allowing for true colour images of the surface of Mars.

Britain has been chosen to lead Europe's mission to search for life on Mars, George Osborne has revealed in a move that returns the UK to the forefront of space exploration.

The Chancellor made the surprise announcement that Britain had been awarded the "lead role" in the 2018 ExoMars mission in his Autumn Statement.

Some 95 million will be invested in European Space Agency programmes, with the UK heading up the first European Rover mission to Mars which will search for life, past and present.

Mr Osborne also used the announcement to joke about the Labour Party's years in the electoral wilderness.

The Conservatives have often "gazed at barren wastelands of the Red Planet" but long given up hope of "finding intelligent life", Mr Osborne told the Commons.

The decision for Britain to lead the project was taken on Wednesday at a meeting of the European Space Agency's (ESA's) ruling council attended by Science Minister Greg Clark.


Esa, fresh from successfully landing a probe on a comet, has chosen Britain to lead its ExoMars mission


The British-built buggy, which will drill into the Red Planet and send analysis back to Earth, is being tested on a mock Martian terrain at Airbus Defence and Space in Stevenage, Hertfordshire.

Airbus Defence and Space spokesman Jeremy Close said: "From our point of view, the decision is fantastic news. This is a flagship project not just for the UK but for Europe. It will be Europe's first interplanetary rover."

A total package for the UK space sector worth more than 200 million has been promised by the Government including 55 million in new resource and capital funding for the next year.

The Treasury pointed out that every pound of public money spent on space exploration produced a 10 return for the UK economy.

Britain's leadership of the ExoMars mission would create more than 200 new jobs and "vital spin-off technologies".




Europe's ExoMars mission will consist of two landers and a British-built rover, which will be launched between 2016 and 2018. Britain's leadership of the mission would create more than 200 new jobs and "vital spin-off technologies"


Britain to lead Europe's search for life on Mars, George Osborne reveals in Autumn Statement - Telegraph
Last edited by Blackleaf; Dec 4th, 2014 at 05:31 AM..