CASH-STRAPPED Spain has ear-marked €66.6 million for a trip to Mars.

The €418 million project will see three skint EU countries pledge funds to send a rocket to the Red Planet in 2016.

Italy will shell out a staggering €344 million while bailed-out Portugal, currently in financial ruin, is spending €2.6 million on the Mars mission.

All three countries are members of the 19-nation European Space Agency (the EU’s answer to Nasa) which has put aside £850million for the project which includes a possible moon landing in 2018.

Britain has already contributed £165million to the Mars project with a possibility of stumping up more cash in the future.


  1. SpaceX will do it cheaper, more reliably and sooner. Even NASA are subcontracting SpaceX to do all their deliveries to the ISS untill 2015. By which time ESAs planned upgrade (read fiddle) of the Arianne 5 will have been superseded, again, by SpaceX’s Falcon Super Heavy with no consideration, or possibly conception, of just what the next gen Grasshopper rocket will do to the space industry. Another colossal waste of public money using an out of date economic model simply to massage Eurocrat egos.

  2. Hey Ben, Having worked in aerospace all across europe, i really must say…
    i totally agree!

    What a waste of money. The Americans are finally opening up the space industry to private companies. Europe needs to do the same. The ESA is a giant hole, and has hindered any space advancement.