Industry is expected to suggest a lunar spacecraft demonstrator for the European Space Agency's Next Exploration Science and Technology programme. This will demonstrate rendezvous, docking, entry, descent and precise, soft landing capabilities that could also be used for ESA's proposed post-2020 Mars Sample Return mission. ESA expects the MSR to become an international effort because of the substantial technological commitment required. The NEXT mission, to fly to the Moon by 2018, is seen as an opportunity to test technologies for the MSR and will be proposed to ESA's ministerial council next year.


Source: Flight International