The german moon mission LEO – Lunar Exploration Orbiter – has now been officialy cancelled, according to the news magazine Tagesschau (Ludmilla Carone at scienceblogs.de (german) had already written about that). The given reason is the cost, although at 350 mio Euro from the federal budget doesn’t seem all that much for a moon mission.
As far as I can tell the german, and actually the european policy on space projects is to fund projects that promise immediate return on investment (or at least allow to channel large amount of money to companys that must not be subsidized under european law. Maybe the people behind LEO should next time plan for a mission that allows to dish out a couple of billions to private companies to improve their chances).
One might argue that an “If we can’t eat it will won’t pay for it” attudite makes economic sense, but then we germans once believed that potatoes are inedible. Like the potato maybe the moon deserves a closer look.
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