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Scientists urge Australia to invest in space activities

Australia: Space scientists called on the Australian Federal Government to invest more than USD 100 million to help safeguard from the effects of severe space weather and political obstruction. Members of the Canberra-based Australian Academy of Science and other space researchers have been working on the blueprint for four years. The plan includes a mission to the sun, launching Australian satellites and training young scientists and engineers.

Academy fellow Professor Malcolm Walter said Australia is one of the few western nations that does not have a space programme. He said Australia cannot rely on NASA and other nations’ space programmes forever, and the time has come to invest in the “new science frontier”. “In the first Iraq war, for example, the GPS was degraded by the US for its own purposes. We are vulnerable by lacking those assets. We are also missing out on all the expertise that comes with being involved in a project like that.”

The plan has a combined cost of USD 140 million over the next decade. It includes Sundiver project to measure the temperature of the Sun’s outer layer and the speed of supersonic winds. Professor Walter said other initiatives include building micro satellites and training young scientists. He added the plan would cost taxpayers USD 1 a year for the next 10 years. “It is really quite moderate in terms of the expenditure and the personnel involved. I don’t think it is particularly ambitious,” he continued.

Source: ABC News