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Britain Considers Plans For Solo Moon Missions

by Staff Writers
London (AFP) Jan 10, 2007
Britain is considering plans for its own moon shot, the BBC said on Tuesday, citing plans submitted to the body that funds British space exploration. Proposals for two missions have been submitted to the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council, and the first, if approved, could be launched by 2010.

The first potential mission, "Moonlight", would see four metre (yard)-long darts fired two metres deep into the moon's surface from an orbiting probe, giving scientists information about the possibility of "moonquakes" and other data about the moon's centre.

If "Moonlight" were successful, a second mission named "Moonraker" could be launched, sending a spacecraft to the surface of the moon in search of suitable sites for potential manned bases.

According to Professor Martin Sweeting, founder and chief executive of Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd., which prepared the study for the funding body, the cost of space exploration had fallen enough for Britain to "go it alone".

"Current small missions to the moon cost around 500 million euro (650 million dollars) ... With advances in small satellites we could probably cut the cost by at least a fifth," Sweeting told the BBC.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Metric Moon
Washington DC (SPX) Jan 09, 2007
If you think in pounds and miles instead of kilograms and kilometers, you're in the minority. Only the United States, Liberia, and Burma still primarily use English units -- the rest of the world is metric. And now the Moon will be metric too. NASA has decided to use metric units for all operations on the lunar surface when it returns to the Moon. The Vision for Space Exploration calls for returning astronauts to the Moon by 2020 and eventually setting up a manned lunar outpost.

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