‘Europa moet naar Mars’

Nieuws | de redactie
13 februari 2008 | President Sarkozy wil dat Europa een ambitieus beleid gaat voeren in de ruimtevaart. Doel is een landing op Mars, zo nodig samen met de USA. "I speak for France, and suggest to our European partners, that it is out of the question that we reduce our efforts or our ambitions for the area of space.

Because Mars is there and Mars is accessible to the technologies available to humanity, we cannot refuse to attempt this adventure,” he continued, speaking to journalists at the launch site for Ariane rockets. He pointed out that Europe had experts in areas such as transport and technology while the US, which already has a Mars exploration programme, had the “technical and scientific competences”.

“I am convinced that an exploration programme can only be global, without exclusivity or appropriation by one nation or another… Each will be able to take part with their capabilities, their strengths and their choices,” he said. While emphasising that he did not want Europe to be in competition with the US, Mr Sarkozy also referred to military space policy, which he said is the price for “strategic autonomy” and “freedom to manoeuvre for European governments.”

In an aside to France’s nuclear strength, the French president said there should be a “decided rise” in the military space budget. He spoke particularly of surveillance and spy satellites, for which the EU is strongly dependent on the US. Meanwhile, the European Commission early last year proposed a collective space policy in the EU but the communication only set out a loose set of aspirations in the area, rather than concrete measures.

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