The UK Plans It's First Moon Mission

Submitted by UFO Guy on Tue, 01/09/2007 - 05:00.

The UK could soon have its first mission to the Moon - an orbiting spacecraft that would fire instruments into the lunar surface. The "penetrators" would yield new information about the rocky interior. The venture is being considered by Britain's astronomy funding agency, PParc, and may pass to the government as a full proposal. The concept has been prepared by Surrey Satellite Technology Limited, one of the country's leading space companies. Its founder and chief executive, Professor Sir Martin Sweeting, has written a report which says the costs of space exploration have fallen sufficiently for the UK to think about launching such a probe by 2010. Sir Martin proposes two options for Britain's first foray to the Moon. The first, named Moonlight, would despatch four suitcase-sized darts on to the lunar surface from orbit. The darts would be sent into craters across a wide area. They would hit the ground at a high velocity and penetrate to a depth of 2m (6ft). The darts could carry a small suite of instruments, such as seismometers to listen for "Moonquakes". Analysing these tremors would give scientists new insight into the make-up of the lunar interior.

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