Europe cuts back long-term space programme
PARIS (AFP) Nov 07, 2003
The European Space Agency (ESA) announced on Friday that budget reasons was forcing it to axe a mission aimed at looking for planets similar to Earth.

The 10-year Eddington planet search mission, due to have been launched in 2008, has been dropped and a mission to Mercury by the spacecraft Beppi Colombo has been reduced, with the scrapping of a planned lander to that planet, it said.

The decision was made by the ESA executive despite a petition signed by 414 European astronomers, who had asked for the Eddington project to be retained.