Britain has made a £16 million investment in Project Orion, a European Space Agency (ESA) project that hopes to send manned missions to the moon and beyond by 2017.
Project Orion's objective is to ship space-faring folk to the far side of the Moon, Mars and near-earth asteroids - and perhaps even beyond.
Britain's part in Project Orion is to build propulsion, guidance and communication systems for the craft's multi-purpose crew vehicle (MPCV).
The country also hopes the project will see British astronaut Tim Peake sent into space, which would make him the first Briton to be blasted into the cosmos without private funding or having to take on American citizenship.
In the cutting-edge, multi-billion-dollar world of space exploration, Britain doesn't tend to fare quite as well as the likes of Russia, China and the US.
Although the country has invested a lot in sending satellites and various other communications devices into the stratosphere, the UK still tends to come out looking like a kid stringing plastic army men to helium balloons and letting them go in a car park.
The 2003, £40 million Beagle 2 flop is still fresh the minds of many Britons – both scientists and space enthusiasts alike - so it's good to see the country taking a fresh stab at the space game.
Project Orion's first unmanned missions are scheduled for 2014, with manned flights into space hoped to take place by the end of the decade.
Via The Guardian
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