"BRITAIN WILL BE AT THE FOREFRONT OF THE SEARCH FOR LIFE IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM AND BEYOND" SAYS IAN TAYLOR
"The discovery of possible evidence for primitive life forms in a rock from Mars is, if proven, potentially very exciting", says Science and Technology Minister, Ian Taylor. "Not only is this area of space exploration important for its own sake, it can give a fresh impetus to broad range of research projects - not only in astronomy, but also in geology, meteorology, biology and industry. The missions to explore further the Red Planet and beyond will be of importance anyone who has an interest in our common past and the origins of the universe. I am delighted that British Science is at the forefront of this research".
"When I visited Professor Colin Pillinger at the Open University in August and saw Mars rock 84001 for myself, I was impressed by the achievements of British scientists who have contributed to the NASA programme and by the rigour and breadth of their approach to this problem as a scientific issue. I was pleased to hear that Professor Pillinger and Dr Alan Penny of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory were proposing to organise a conference to discuss the implications of the new research".
"The conference will bring together many of the top scientists from a
number of different fields, allowing them to co-ordinate their
activities in this area more effectively. It will assess the work
which has been done, and explore avenues for future research. I look
forward to opening the meeting, and wish it every success".