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UK tests Moon lander technology

Soft lander proposal from EADS Astrium. Credits: EADS Astrium

BBC reports that British engineers are designing a Moon landing mission that would also test key technologies to take to Mars. The MoonTwins concept would put two probes on the lunar surface - one at each pole - to do science experiments. The work is being undertaken by the aerospace company Astrium at the request of the European Space Agency (ESA). ESA plans eventually to go to the Red Planet to retrieve rocks for analysis on Earth, and the Moon is seen as a good place to develop the know-how.

SMART-1's bridge to the future exploration of the Moon

SMART-1 heading for the Moon. Credits: ESA

[9 March 2007 - ESA Press Release]
ESA's SMART-1 moon mission has become a bridge to the future of lunar science and exploration. "SMART-1 data are helping to choose future landing sites for robotic and possible manned missions, and its instruments are upgraded and being flown again on the next generation of lunar satellites," says Bernard Foing, ESA SMART-1 Project scientist. "Even its spectacular impact campaign is helping NASA to plan their own moon crash."

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