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From: Dan Dubrick
To: All
Date: 2003-07-01 10:43:00
Subject: 6\26 ESA - 'Aurora door to the future,' says next Director General

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European Space Agency

Press Release

'Aurora is the door to the future,' says ESA's next Director General

26 June 2003
The future is never easy to predict, but ESA must be prepared to meet
the unexpected challenges that will arise as the century unfolds,
says the agency's next Director General, Jean-Jacques Dordain. 
Speaking at the Paris Air Show last week, Dordain strongly supported
initiatives such as the long-term Aurora Programme to develop
technologies that may pave the way for exploration of the Moon, Mars
and beyond.

One of the key architects of Aurora when he was Director of Strategy
in 2001, Dordain is fully aware of the Programme's potential for
developing and demonstrating innovative technologies that may
subsequently be of value to many other areas of space exploration and
ground-based applications. 

"Aurora is very important for me, because it is the door to the
future," he said. "It is always easier to give priority to short-term
objectives, but this is a short-sighted approach. Instead, we must
take a long-term view by developing a variety of options so that,
perhaps 10 or 20 years from now, we can eventually choose the right
way to go; more on what we must do rather than on what we can do.
This is the rationale behind Aurora. 

"We must also remember that, while industrial capabilities take a
long time to develop, they can be lost or destroyed very quickly and

"ESA needs to look beyond Columbus and the ATV (Automated Transfer
Vehicle) and to have a vision of what comes next. It is imperative
that we prepare for any type of mission scenario, so that, when the
time is right, we can be a partner in sending humans to the Moon,
Mars or whatever. Aurora is the best way to do this - both in
preparation of new technologies and demonstrating them." 

The Aurora Programme, which is still in its preparatory phase, was
presented to the public for the first time at Le Bourget. Visitors
were treated to state-of-the-art animations showing the ExoMars
rover - a robotic mission to search for life on Mars scheduled for
launch in 2009 - and an astronaut strolling across the orange Martian

Also available for the first time was a cut-out model of the ExoMars
rover preliminary concept, designed at ESA's Concurrent Design
Facility in the European Space Technology and Research Centre (ESTEC)
in the Netherlands. The kit is now available on the Aurora website
and can be downloaded by space enthusiasts, young and old.


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