The UK’s possible role in lunar exploration was just one of the subjects discussed today by the new Minister for Science and Innovation, Malcolm Wicks, and Dr Michael Griffin, Head of NASA.
They reaffirmed the strong links between the US and UK in space science and exploration, most recently seen with the launch of the NASA Stereo mission which carried instrumentation built by UK scientists, and discussed other potential areas for future collaboration.
A global space exploration strategy is being developed by the world's space agencies. It will co-ordinate worldwide efforts to return to the Moon and to explore the solar system with robots, so preparing for the historic first human mission to Mars.
Following the meeting Mr Wicks said: ‘The UK is a world leader in the market of small affordable satellites. Future collaborations could potentially have a strong commercial return for UK companies in this area.
‘This could be the world’s largest science and technology programme. We will be considering whether there is an opportunity to build a partnership with the US
. We want UK
businesses and scientists to benefit from this programme.’