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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 November 2006, 18:01 GMT
Minister in Moon talks with Nasa
Dr Michael Griffin and Malcolm Wicks
Dr Griffin met Mr Wicks at the Cabinet War Rooms
Britain could become involved in Nasa plans to send astronauts back to the Moon by 2020, science minister Malcolm Wicks has said.

He met Nasa chief Dr Michael Griffin at the Cabinet War Rooms to discuss the plans for future Moon landings.

It could be the world's biggest science programme and UK businesses and scientists must benefit, said Mr Wicks.

The UK was a world leader in "small affordable satellites" and already had strong links with the US, he said.

The minister, who replaced Lord Sainsbury earlier this month, said it was exciting to discuss how the UK could get involved with lunar exploration.

Mars mission

"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."

His department said the UK already had strong links with the US in space science and exploration, as the launch of Nasa's Stereo mission in October had carried instruments built by British scientists.

In September, Nasa announced it planned to return to the Moon by 2020 and "extend human presence across the Solar System and beyond".

The plan is to put humans on the Moon, gaining the expertise that would be required for a manned mission to Mars.

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07 Feb 06 |  Science/Nature

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