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It’s been a really good week for space programs across the world.
We’re hearing rumbling that NASA is plotting a new manned outpost on the moon (as well as launching a new water-seeking rover), and now the U.K. government has decided to increase its funding to the European Space Agency (ESA).
Government officials are currently spending about £170 million (about $270 million) on funding to the agency but will now increase that amount by another £60 million (about $95 million). Officials cite the space program’s impressive financial returns, as well as the program’s potential to boost job growth, as justification for the fresh funding. The funding also comes despite a five percent reduction in overall civil research spending since 2010.
“We have underestimated the strength of our space industry. In fact, we are a global player in satellite and telecommunications technology,” Chancellor George Osborne told BBC News. “This additional investment is a signal to ESA and commercial companies that we are going to continue to support space science and technology.”
Hear that, America? Spending money on the space program is a good investment — and one that world-renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson would most definitely agree with. Tyson made an impassioned speech to Congress earlier this year, urging it to double NASA’s funding from a half-cent on every dollar to a full cent.
As for the British space effort, I think it would (probably) gain another big funding increase if it officially labeled the program the Ministry of Space, as cited in the fictional graphic novel written by Warren Ellis. (It just sounds cooler.)