The UK Space Agency has announced that it will invest a further £1.6 million on Mars Day, being 7 March 2023, in a wider attempt to facilitate safe and efficient travel to Mars by utilising the supplies and technologies available in space to sustain the spacecraft and astronauts.
The additional £1.6 million investment, through its Enabling Space Exploration fund, will aid in eight separate projects. Those projects receiving a share of the investment are:
- Fluorescent deep space petri-pod (FDSPP) flight readiness programme;
- All-in-one Mars in-situ resource utilisation system using non-thermal plasma;
- Novel infrared technology for exploring Mars and advance reconnaissance;
- Microwave heating and oxygen extraction experiment;
- Reactors for off-planet life support systems and Martian in-situ resource utilisation;
- Nuclear thermal fuel system and thermal-based characterisation;
- In-situ resource utilisation production DISRUPT-2; and
- Integrated fission-based power systems for electric propulsion.
Through such innovative technology investments, it is hoped that we will be able to effectively explore the Moon as well as Mars. It will further allow the UK to be involved in exploration missions with international bodies.
Department of Science, Innovation and Technology Minister of State for Space, George Freeman, states that the wider goal of the £5 billion investment in the £16.5 billion commercial space sector is to create business and opportunities in addition to further jobs for all those in the United Kingdom. Currently, it is reported that 47,000 people are employed in space associated jobs spread amongst nearly 1,300 UK-based space organisations. One in five of those space sector jobs are accounted for in Scotland.
George Freeman further elaborates that space exploration is pivotal in comprehending the “origins of life”. It will be interesting to see the developments and results that flow from the various projects. Separately, the projects will hopefully help Scotland “…to become a leading European space nation...”, as stated by the Scottish Government.
Please click here to read our article where explore Scotland’s increasing space sector in greater detail.
This article was co-written by Arina Yazdi, Trainee Solicitor.