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Probes for the exploration of the lunar surface are being developed in the United Kingdom.

Unmanned space vehicles capable of making a soft landing on the lunar surface are being developed in Britain. Successful development will also make it possible to conduct tests of technologies required in future Mars exploration programs.
A new project for moon exploration being developed in Britain, dubbed “Moon Twins,” involves the creation of two research craft to land on the poles of the moon. The EADS Astrium Company is developing the probes for the European Space Agency.
Plans call for the Moon Twins to be launched between 2015 and 2018. Both probes will be launched on the same carrier rocket. After they enter into orbit around the moon, they will be used to test technology for the joining of autonomous spacecraft. Then the probes will descend to the lunar surface to make a landing. On board each ship will be a seismometer to study the moon. Scientists hope that the craft will be big enough to hold other scientific devices as well, according to the BBC. (April, 2007)

The United Kingdom plans to send a rocket to the moon.

Plans call for a British ship to orbit the moon and send down devices to take samples from the lunar surface. This project is being examined by a British agency involved with financing space exploration. One of the project’s authors, Professor Martin Sweeting, believes that with the great reduction over recent years in the costs of space exploration, Britain could look into the possibility of launching a spacecraft of its own to the moon in 2010. As the craft orbits the moon, it will launch special devices toward the lunar surface at high speed. These devices will penetrate as deep as 2 meters to gather soil and mineral samples. If this lunar research project is successful, scientists plan to follow up by sending another device to land on the lunar surface. One of its assignments will be to seek a suitable location for a lunar base. (The American space agency NASA plans to build a lunar base before 2020.) Up until now, Britain’s participation in the study of outer space has been limited to collaboration with NASA and the European Space Agency. But now scientists believe Britain can get involved on its own. “For the first time space exploration has become affordable for us,” notes Professor Sweeting. “At present, sending a small spacecraft to the moon costs approximately 500 million euros. But with development of satellite launching technologies, the cost can be reduced by at least 100 million euros.”





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