An unmanned German mission to the moon is plausible by the middle of the next decade, the official in charge of space flight said on Wednesday, despite the financial crisis battering the country.
"A German moon-landing is possible during the course of the next decade, around 2015," Peter Hintze, state secretary for economy and technology, told ZDF television.
Such a mission would cost around 1.5 billion euros (2.2 billion dollars) over five years, he said, adding that the scientific benefits would justify the expense, even as Germany suffers its worst recession in six decades.
"The spacefaring nations have rediscovered the moon because it is unbelievably important," he said.
The moon is "an excellent platform for space research," Hintze said, adding: "The moon is of the highest importance when answering the question of how we guarantee the future of our own blue planet."
(c) 2009 AFP
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