Outcome of the Ministerial Council as concerns the Science & Robotic Exploration Directorate
28 November 2008The Science Programme received a positive outcome from the recent Council Meeting at Ministerial Level, being granted an increase of 3.5% per annum for the period 2009-2013, giving it a budget over this period of 2.4 billion Euro at 2008 economic conditions.
This level of funding provides the necessary budget to implement the envisaged re-planning for the extension of missions in operation, to complete the missions under development and to safeguard the Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 plan as currently envisaged, with a launch of the first CV mission foreseen for 2017-2018.
In addition, the enhanced ExoMars concept was approved by Ministers. While the subscription to ExoMars is not yet finalised - it remains open until end 2009 - the current subscription level, based on committments from the previous Council Meeting at Berlin and first indications from this Council meeting, amounts to more than 850 million Euros.
The Mars Robotic Exploration Preparation Programme (MREP) activities have been fully subscribed. This programme will prepare Europe’s contribution to the future exploration of Mars. It is aimed at obtaining detailed information on the Martian environment and at demonstrating the new technologies that are necessary in order to eventually return samples from the Red Planet. MREP is, without doubt, the key to the future and, through this Programme, Europe is now set to play a serious part in the exploration of Mars.