Thursday, 28 November 2013

Where Are The Sexy Space Missions?

The European Space Agency have announced their programme for the next twenty years and the plan is to launch a satellite to observe Jupiter in 2022 followed by an X-ray telescope in 2028 and then a mission to detect gravitational waves in 2034.
All important i agree but you could never describe them as sexy. No manned missions anywhere, not a sniff of a robotic lander or rover scuttling across distant Worlds, not inspiring or anything there to grip the imagination.
As i was born in 1969 i was too young to see the Space race which ended with the historic moon landings so i do a bit like we are living in the lull between the start of mans space exploration and the next exciting bit where we send manned missions to other Planets.
I understand that it is expensive and what we learn now will build towards more exciting times for future astronauts but while we are getting there, we do need something to inspire us and keep the funding coming.
If we are going to Jupiter anyway, couldn't we stick a lander on the satellite and have it explore Europa and see if we can find anything under the ice sheets that cover it? 
We haven't stepped on the moon since 1972, must be time we went back there again or how about making that moon base we have been waiting for ever since?
Get a shift on guys because in 20 years time i will be 64 and won't have enough time left to wait another 20 years after that before you decide to do something more exciting than detect gravitational waves.

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